3rd Quarter 2017

Savvy Tax-Planning Tips

You still have time to implement tax-saving strategies before you close the books on 2017. Don't risk missing a tax break by waiting until the last minute.

Make the most of tax-advantaged savings opportunities. You can squirrel away as much as $18,000 in your 457 plan and up to $5,500 in an IRA in 2017 (plus an extra $6,000 to a 457 plan and $1,000 to an IRA if 50 or older). If you're not on track to hit the cap, try to find a way to feed more cash into these tax shelters.

Get extra credit for saving. Couples with adjusted gross income of $62,000 or less and singles with AGI of $31,000 have an extra incentive to save in a 457, Roth or traditional IRA, or other retirement-savings plan. The retirement saver's tax credit is worth $200 to $1,000 per person, depending on your income. See to calculate the credit.

Get more money in your paycheck. If you received a big tax refund earlier this year, calculate whether you can adjust the amount of money that is withheld from your pay for taxes and get more money in each paycheck instead. Use the IRS withholding calculator at to run your numbers, then give your boss a new W-4 form with the changes. Consider increased take-home pay as advanced payments of next year's refund.

Get a break for charitable gifts. Your charitable contributions are tax-deductible if you itemize deductions on your tax return. That includes checks you write to a charity, of course, and also the value of items you give away and out-of-pocket expenses you spend for a charity, such as ingredients you buy for a soup kitchen. You can also deduct 14 cents per mile if you drive your car for charity.

Deduct moving expenses. If you had to move for a job, or if you took your first job in 2017, then you may be able to deduct your moving expenses – whether or not you itemize deductions. You can deduct moving expenses if your new job location is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job was (or if you're starting your first job and it is at least 50 miles away from your old home); and you can deduct the following:

  • the cost of hiring movers (including the cost of packing as well as transporting your possessions) or the cost of renting a moving van and storing your possessions for up to 30 days between moving and delivery.
  • the cost of travel from your old home to your new home.
  • 17 cents per mile for 2017 moves, if you drive. Keep receipts and a mileage log.

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