4 Easy Ways to Start Your 2013 Tax Planning and Save Money

The New Year’s celebrations are over.


The New Year’s Resolutions are starting. We’ll see how long they last.


Many people feel income taxes are going up. I’m confident they are for the higher income earners.

Now it’s time to start your 2013 tax planning. Here are 4 easy ways to start:


1) Set up a Folder for Your Documents

It doesn’t matter if it is a physical folder or an electronic folder. Just have a file set up and put in there, all of the key documents you will need including:

*Pay Stubs

*Estimated Tax Payment Vouchers

*Charitable Donations

*Property Taxes

*Medical Expenses

*Unreimbursed Employee Expenses

*Health Savings Account Activity


2) Monitor Your Withholding

You will have a better idea of your 2013 tax obligation after you have completed your 2012 return. This will be the starting point for possibly adjusting your withholding. Ideally, you don’t want to get a huge refund.  You also don’t want to have a big tax obligation next spring.


3) Review Your Estimated Tax Payments

Employees have federal and state income tax withheld from their paycheck.  Many other sources of income don’t have withholding. This would include:

*Self-Employment Income

*Partnership Income



*Capital Gains

Estimated taxes are due on January, April, June and September 15th. Complete IRS Form 1040-ES for the federal estimated tax payment.  Connecticut taxpayers need to complete Form CT-1040-ES.

Failure to have enough income taxes paid either through withholding and/or estimated tax payments will result in an underpayment penalty. To avoid this penalty, taxpayers whose prior year adjusted gross income was under $150,000 need to have paid in 100% of the prior year tax.  For taxpayers whose prior year adjusted gross income is over $150,000 they need to have paid in 110% of the prior year tax.


4) Review Your Required Minimum Distribution

Taxpayers over age 70 1/2 must take their required minimum distribution (“RMD”) from their IRA’s and 401(k) plans. This must be done by April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 1/2. The failure to take the RMD results in a penalty of 50% of the amount that should have been taken. That’s not a misprint; it’s a 50% penalty.

Take these 4 easy steps to start your tax planning and save money.

If you need assistance with your tax planning please give us a call.

Photo from Creative Commons.

Tom Scanlon has over thirty years experience in public accounting with an extensive background in the areas of financial, tax, and estate planning. He prides himself on providing in-depth and customized solutions to privately held businesses and their owners. He is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner®. Tom is a frequent speaker for area organizations and has  recently been quoted on CNBC, Fox 61 News and AARP's blog. Tom also has been a guest columnist for numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Money Magazine, The Hartford Courant, The Hartford Business Journal, and The New Haven Register. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Financial Planning Association. Active in the community, Tom supports a variety of not-for-profit organizations.

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