The Accountants and Investment Advisors at American Investment Planners LLC offer a full-service tax department that prepares clients’ individual and/or corporate returns with great care and professionalism. The goal is to not only identify credits and deductions that can help minimize tax obligations, but to develop effective strategies months prior to filing. This helps ensure that the return is in compliance with the latest IRS rulings and also capitalizes on sound strategies that work in the clients’ best interests.
Remember, after December 31st, it is too late to harvest tax losses or to utilize other methods to reduce taxes.
“We don't just auto plug numbers into boxes like H&R Block or Turbotax. We conceptualize a client’s return and provide comprehensive tax planning guidance throughout the year. Not like the seasonal tax services that are only reachable for a few months and then disappear.”
- Craig Bergen, Financial and Tax Planner
There is no substitute for excellent record keeping and the best way to help your tax preparer is to keep track of your income and expenses. We highly recommend setting up a filing system for these important documents as they represent potentially valuable deductions.
It is also important to ask your Advisor about the various Tax deferred and Tax-exempt investment vehicles that can be used to minimize taxes. These include Municipals, Qualified Retirement Plans (IRAs 401ks, 403bs, 457s), Defined Benefit Pension Plans, Health Savings Accounts and College Savings.
Medical and Dental
Keep receipts for every expense including premiums as you do not receive tax documents for these services. Also keep receipts for prescriptions, co-pays, lab fees, optical services and eyeglasses, hearing aids, special medical equipment, medical travel/transportation and home health aides.
Keep separate files for local, state and federal taxes, property taxes on primary residences and second homes, as well as applied sales tax on large purchases such as cars, boats, etc.
Send us your tax documents (W-2's,1099s, K1s along with bank and brokerage statements) as soon as you receive them. This gives us a chance to examine your filing early in the first quarter and to create the basis on which we can plan ahead for the coming tax year.
NOTE: Depending on your circumstances and primary residence you may need to file estimated taxes depending on your withholding status. Also, if you live in Florida, Texas, Nevada and Washington, there are no state and local income tax. New Hampshire only taxes investment dividends. Connecticut imposes a tax on registered vehicles.
Mortgage interest (1098's) on a personal residence may be deductible up to $750,000 but contact your Advisor to discuss the exact amount based on your circumstances. Home equity interest is no longer deductible unless it was used to build, buy or substantially improve a property. Margin interest (money borrowed to purchase additional securities) is also deductible.
Keep records of all charitable donations. If the gift/donation is greater than $250 the charity should provide a receipt or letter verifying your contribution amount. If you are donating a non- cash amount to an organization such as clothes, appliances, and household goods, request a receipt indicating the date and the types of items donated.
NOTE: Non-cash contributions in excess of $5,000 (such as a car) require an appraisal by the charity.
If you have out-of-pocket expenses for your job, make sure to keep a log. These might include automobile mileage, equipment expenses, portfolio management fees, union dues, tax preparation fees, travel expenses and other incidentals. This is mostly for filing state taxes.
NOTE: If your itemized deductions are greater than the standard deductions, careful record-keeping and logging of your year-round finances are critical.
“With over fifty years of experience doing tax planning and preparation, I highly recommend that investors review their possible capital gains and losses to maximize net investment results months prior to filing. It is also important to review tax-loss harvesting and other strategies prior to December 31. Nothing feels worse than discovering lost opportunities for tax reductions after it is too late.”
- John L'Abbate, CFP, Director of Tax Planning
RMD's : In 2021, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act) that was implemented in response to Covid-19 is no longer in effect. This one-year RMD exemption expired in 2020.
Sole Proprietors: must keep records of all income and business expenses as well as keep a separate, dedicated bank account and/or credit card(s).
Property Owners: If you have rental real estate, you must keep accurate records of income, expenses and capital improvements.
Unemployment: The unemployed are required to keep track of their own tax documents as they are not sent out or provided by the Labor Department or State Unemployment Office.
Social Security: The calculations on determining the tax rate on Social Security benefits are complex and vary based on income. Consult with your tax planner to determine your individual rate.
Our Tax Planning department charges an hourly rate based upon the review of a client’s previous year(s) tax returns. There is no additional fee for consultations prior to filing and the department is available to discuss your tax strategies throughout the year.