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4 Smart Tax Moves to Make Before the End of the Year

November 22, 2022 by Spectrum Credit Union

Believe it or not, the end of the year is officially upon us. The decisions you make between now and the end of December can have a big impact on how much tax you’ll have to pay next April.

Time might be running short, but there are plenty of smart tax moves you can still make now.

Check your tax withholding

If you got hit with a tax bill this year — or just aren’t sure where you stand — you may be able to increase your withholdings on your last few paychecks to offset what you might owe.

First, use the Tax Withholding Estimator from the Internal Revenue Service to get a picture of where you are at now. You’ll need a recent paystub and your 2021 tax returns to get the most from the calculator. With the info in place, the IRS tool will tell you how much “extra withholding” you’d need to make. From there, you may be able to submit a new W4 to increase your withholding and avoid that big tax bill later.

Make your charitable giving donations

With a tax-deductible donation, you can reduce your tax bill by donating cash or the fair market value of property to qualified charities — but you’ll have to make those donations before the end of the year to get the deduction for 2022.

To make sure you’re maximizing your charitable gifts, start by confirming the charity with the IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search. You’ll also want to get an official record or receipt for any property you donate and keep canceled checks or credit card statements for any cash donations.

Keep in mind to make use of the deduction, you’ll need to itemize. If you plan to donate significantly this year, it may be a good idea to have a tax professional help you sort it all out.

Check your retirement contributions

If you’d planned to max out your retirement contributions this year but haven’t hit the mark, you still have a bit of time to reach your goal.

For 2022, you can defer up to $20,500 to a 401(k), 403(b) or Thrift Savings Plan. If you’re over 50 years old, you can add an additional $6,500 in catch-up contributions. By contributing more to your 401(k), you’ll lower your take home pay through the rest of the year, but you’ll also lower your tax burden.

Consider talking to your 401(k) administrator or your human resources department about how to boost your retirement contributions without going over the limit.

Maximize your Health Savings Account

Medical care can be expensive, even with insurance. A Health Savings Plan, or HSA, offers a way to save money. With an HSA, you can contribute tax-advantaged dollars to your account in advance. Then, when you use those funds to cover qualified medical expenses, you won’t have to pay taxes on distributions.

Your Spectrum Credit Union offers members two types of HSAs to help you take advantage of these tax savings. Our HSA Checking Account gives you convenient access to your funds while earning dividends on balances of $500 or more. With an HSA MarketEdge Money Market Account, you’ll earn higher dividends on balances of $2,500 or more.

Keep in mind, the IRS places limits on the amount of funds you can add to an HSA and you’ll need to make sure any medical expenses you want to pay for are qualified to reap the full benefits. We can help you make sure you’re maximizing your benefits.

Tax season can be stressful. With changing limits and complicated rules, it can be hard to make sure you’re making the right moves. If you plan to itemize your taxes – or just want to make sure you’ve lowered your tax bill as much as possible — consider hiring a pro. A qualified tax professional can review your income and expenses, help you find deductions you may have missed and avoid any problems next year. 

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