Tax Tips: Do These Things Before December 31

With Christmas only about a week away, we're all busy preparing for the holiday. However, if you haven't already taken care of these items, you should take the time to complete these tasks before the end of the year to get ready for 2020 taxes.

Charitable Contributions

For most taxpayers, Dec. 31 is the last day to take actions that will impact their 2019 tax return. For example, those who plan to itemize deductions should know that charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2019 count for the 2019 tax year, even if the bill isn’t paid until 2020. Checks to a charity count for 2019 if they are mailed by the last day of the year.

Retirement Plans

  • Taxpayers who are over age 70 ½ are generally required to take distributions from their individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans by the end of 2019. However, a special rule allows those who reached 70 ½ in 2019 to wait until April 1, 2020, to receive them.
  • Most workplace retirement account contributions should be made by the end of the year, but taxpayers can make 2019 IRA contributions until April 15, 2020.
  • For 2019, the basic limit for 401(k) contributions is $19,000, plus another $6,000 for those who are at least age 50.
  • For 2019, total contributions to all traditional and Roth IRAs cannot exceed $6,000, or for taxpayers age 50 and older, $7,000.
  • Some taxpayers may be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, also known as the Saver’s Credit. The income limit is $64,000 for married couples filing jointly, $48,000 for heads of household, and $32,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately for 2019.

Refunds

Just as each tax return is unique and individual, so is each taxpayer's refund. Different factors can affect the timing of a refund. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it's possible a particular taxpayer's refund may take longer. Some tax returns require additional review and take longer to process than others. It may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud. The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail when more information is needed to process a return. Taxpayers should not count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when planning major purchases or paying other financial obligations.

Update Address and/or Name Changes

  • Taxpayers who moved during 2019 should tell the US Postal Service, employers and the IRS. Notify the IRS by mailing IRS Form 8822, Change of Address, to the address listed on the form’s instructions.
  • Taxpayers who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace should also notify the Marketplace when they move out of the area covered by their current plan.
  • For name changes due to marriage or divorce, notify the Social Security Administration so the new name will match IRS and SSA records. Also notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed. A mismatch between the name shown on a tax return and SSA records often causes refund delays.

ITINs

Taxpayers with expiring Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers can get their ITINs renewed more quickly and avoid refund delays next year by submitting their renewal application soon. An ITIN is a tax ID number used by any taxpayer who doesn't qualify to get a Social Security number. Any ITIN with middle digits 83, 84, 85, 86 or 87 will expire at the end of this year. In addition, any ITIN not used on a tax return in the past three years will expire. ITINs with middle digits 70 through 82 that expired in 2016, 2017 or 2018 can also be renewed.
Affected ITIN holders can avoid delays by starting the renewal process now. Those who fail to renew before filing a return could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for some important tax credits. 

 

As always, if you have questions about your upcoming tax obligations, Contact Us.  We're here to help you stay compliant and avoid penalties and delays.

 

Contact

  • Address:DJL Accounting & Consulting Group, Inc.
    Cider Mill Professional Center, Building C-102
    1570 S Canfield Niles Road
    Youngstown, Ohio 44515 
  • Phone:330 779 0781