Knowing what factors can raise your taxes is one of the best ways to keep more money in your pocket. That’s why proper tax planning is a year-round practice. Here are five actions that can unexpectedly increase your tax bill:
- Cashing in your retirement plan. There are many reasons not to cash in your plan early, and the tax penalty is one of the biggest. If you take the proceeds from your 401(k) plan in cash, instead of rolling it over into an IRA, you’ll have to pay taxes on the money you withdraw. Even worse, you’ll be subject to a 10% penalty. By the time you’re done, you could lose up to half your hard-earned retirement plan to taxes and penalties.
- Working as a freelancer. Working for yourself is great, but it can trigger tax headaches. Freelancers and other self-employed workers are subject to self-employment tax, which represents the combined employer and employee share of the Medicare and Social Security tax. The tax hit can be substantial, especially if you don’t plan for it.
- Failing to take your RMD. You can’t keep retirement funds in your account indefinitely. You’re required to start pulling money from your IRA and workplace retirement plans when you turn 70. If you fail to make that required minimum distribution (RMD), the penalty fees can easily offset your savings.
- Skipping your IRA contribution. If you’re accustomed to making an annual IRA contribution, skipping that contribution can cost you. Before you omit it completely, run the numbers and see how the decision will affect your tax bill.
- Paying off the mortgage. Eliminating mortgage debt can be very freeing, but it can also raise your taxes. Mortgage interest is deductible if you itemize your deductions. Losing that deduction may leave you owing more to the IRS. That’s not necessarily a reason to keep a mortgage, but it can be an important consideration.
With smart strategies for tax planning, the CPAs at Magone & Company can help you make the most tax-efficient decisions. Give us a call today at (973) 301-2300 to learn more.
The above information is provided for general education purposes and should not be considered financial or tax advice. Please consult your accountant or financial advisor for advice specific to your situation.