Welcome to the tax year home stretch
This is NOT the 7th inning stretch that we are so familiar with in baseball. We are rounding third base and running home in the last month of the last quarter of this calendar year. Will you be the winner in this tax game for 2014? Will the IRS be the winner when they select tax returns for examination? Did you realize that the returns the IRS will be selecting in 2015 will not be the 2014 tax returns. Most of the tax returns they will be selecting tax in 2015 will be tax returns for the year 2013. Do you know where your 2013 tax return is? Do you have a method for saving the records you used for that prior year’s return? Do you know how long to keep those records? The answer to these big questions is just one of the areas I cover in my Audit Proofing Coaching program available in January. First enjoy your holidays. Then we can get to work to protect you from a tax audit. Your 2013 tax return is also the starting point for preparing your 2014 tax return. What do you want to make sure you finish before December 31st? Here are THREE TIPS direct from the Internal Revenue Service for Individual Retirement Accounts. “1. Know the limits. You can contribute up to a maximum of $5,500 ($6,500 if you are age 50 or older) to a traditional or Roth IRA. If you file a joint return, you and your spouse can each contribute to an IRA even if only one of you has taxable compensation. In some cases, you may need to reduce your deduction for traditional IRA contributions. This rule applies if you or your spouse has a retirement plan at work and your income is above a certain level. You have until April 15, 2015, to make an IRA contribution for 2014. “2. Avoid excess contributions. If you contribute more than the IRA limits for 2014, you are subject to a six percent tax (emphasis, mine) on the excess amount. The tax applies each year that the excess amounts remain in your account. You can avoid the tax if you withdraw the excess amounts from your account by the due date of your 2014 tax return, including extensions. “3. Take required distributions. If you’re at least age 70½, you MUST take a required minimum distribution, or RMD, from your traditional IRA. You are not required to take a RMD from your Roth IRA. You normally must take your RMD by Dec. 31, 2014. That deadline is April 1, 2015, if you turned 70½ in 2014. If you have more than one traditional IRA, you figure the RMD separately for each IRA. However, you can withdraw the total amount from one or more of them. If you don’t take your RMD on time you face a 50 percent excise tax (emphasis, mine) on the RMD amount you failed to take out. If you turned 70½ in 2014 and delay your first annual RMD until the year AFTER you turn 70½, you must take that first RMD by April FIRST, 2015 (not the fifteenth) PLUS you must take the 2015 annual RMD before December 31, 2015. Watch the timeline to avoid the penalties and make the most of your retirement savings.