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You certainly aren’t alone if you’re rushing to file your tax return and looking for some last-minute tax savings strategies.
In fact, your among the 20% to 25% of Americans who wait until the last two weeks before the deadline to prepare their tax returns.
This year, the deadline to file both your state and federal tax returns is April 17.
In order to get some last-minute tips for tax time, we got in touch with our friends over a Accountfully, a fully outsourced accounting team headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with offices throughout the Southeast.
Here are three last-minute tax savings strategies to help you save some cash this year:
1. Lower your adjusted gross income through individual retirement accounts.
According to Brannon Montgomery, tax lead at Accountfully, “A contribution to a traditional IRA will help reduce taxable income for the year and reduce federal income taxes.”
For the 2017 tax year, the tax-deductible contribution limit is $5,500. For those who are age 50 and over, the limit is $6,500. You have until April 17, 2018, to set up and contribute to an IRA.
In addition, self-employed individuals can open a Simplified Employee Pension plan even if they also have a full-time job as an employee, notes Montgomery.
“If you earn money running a small business on the side, you could take advantage of the potential tax benefits from your other income,” he says.
With a SEP IRA, he says, contributions may be tax deductible, just like with a traditional IRA, but the SEP IRA has a much higher contribution limit.
For 2017, the contribution limit is 25% of pretax income (20% for the self-employed) or $54,000, whichever is lower. The deadline for 2017 contributions is the tax deadline.
2. Save tax dollars by contributing to a Health Savings Account.
You have up until tax day to make contributions to your Health Savings Account for the prior year, says Montgomery. That means you can make contributions to your HSA for 2017 until April 17, 2018.
The contribution limits for 2017 are $3,400 (Single) and $6,750 (family). But additional catch-up contributions of $1,000 may be made if you are 55 or older (single and family).
3. File an extension if you aren’t ready before the deadline.
What if you don’t have all of your documents gathered or need more time to prepare your return? No worries — you can get a six month extension, says Montgomery.
But he warns that the extension to file is not an extension to pay. “You still have to send the IRS the amount of tax you owe by April 17, or have to pay a late-payment penalty,” he says.