Now is the time to review your personal finances

Now is the time to review your personal finances, sit down with your advisors, and start making any end-of-year adjustments to minimize your tax bill and take advantage of any tax breaks that may be expiring at the end of the year. Though Congress still may act to extend some tax cuts, no one knows for sure what will happen in 2011.

Reuters has a brief checklist of issues you should review now, to include:

  • If you’re an investor, take any long-term capital losses from stocks or mutual fund shares.
  • Lock in any capital gains this year, too. The top capital gains tax rate now is 15 percent; it’s scheduled to go up to 20 percent next year. Some are saying it may go even higher. So, it may make sense to sell appreciated assets and pay the tax now.
  • If you have a flexible spending account for health or childcare benefits, look at how much you have left and how long you have to use the money before it evaporates. Check with your employer / benefits counselor, as some accounts expire on December 31st, while others allow you to use the funds until March.
  • Make the most of your deductions. This year, there is no limit on your itemized deductions, but starting next year, people earning more than $100,000 are likely to see their deductions limited. So, it makes sense to make any charitable contributions, or pay any deductible expenses before the end of the year.

Taking a current income tax deduction when you make a charitable donation is an integral aspect of tax-savvy charitable planning. To be sure you don’t miss out on opportunities that could impact your estate planning, consider scheduling an estate review now. Also, visit our website to learn more Senior Life Care Planning.

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