You’ve started working on your tax return (or spoken with your accountant) and it looks like you’ll owe more taxes than you’d like. Now what? It’s too late to change your 2016 taxes now that it’s 2017, right? Fortunately, retirement savings can save you and reduce tax liability!
Those fortunate enough to be named a beneficiary of a retirement account will want to know the nuances for reporting income on their tax return. This is specifically important when the account holder passes away before or after the time they are supposed to take required minimum distributions (RMDs).
Traditional IRA and 401(K) account holders are required to start taking minimum distributions when they reach the age of 70 ½, even if they are still working for an employer at the time. However, in the first year they are required to take distributions, they can defer it until April 1st of the following year.
If you did inherit an IRA account from a deceased relative that was under the age of 70 1/2, you’ll be prompted to elect a distribution option. The options are to take a lump-sum distribution, open an inherited IRA based on the life expectancy method or open an inherited IRA based on the 5 year method. What should you do?
In this instance, all assets in the IRA are distributed to you at once. You will pay income taxes on the distribution all at once. You may also move to a higher tax bracket depending on the amount of the distribution and your current income level. However, you will not incur the 10% early withdrawal penalty. This is the option in which you will likely pay a significant amount of taxes in year 1.
Many taxpayers often review tax planning strategies after the New Year. Before you say goodbye to 2014, there are several tax savings strategies that you may be able to implement now. If you wait until after December 31st, it will be too late.
Investors can reduce their taxable income by realizing capital losses. After netting capital gains against losses, taxpayers can offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income and carry-forward the remaining amount for future years. Please note that the character of the investment as long-term versus short-term will impact the way in which gains and losses are netted.