Year-End Checklist for Your Personal Finances

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Personal, Tax Season

With just a few weeks left, take a look at this checklist to make sure you’re ready for the new year:

1 — Take Your RMDs: If you’re 70½ or older, you’ll need to take required minimum distributions from your qualified retirement accounts by December 31 — or face a penalty equal to 50% of the sum you failed to withdraw. If you turned 70½ this year, you have until April 1, 2020, to take your first RMD.

2 — Fund Your HSA: For 2019, you can sock away as much as $3,500 before taxes in a Health Savings Account. For families, the figure is $7,000, and those age 55 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 as a catch-up contribution.

3 — Spend Your Flex Money: Unused funds in a Flexible Spending Account are typically forfeited at year’s end, so make sure to tap them for eligible health and medical expenses by December 31. Check whether your plan offers a grace period or allows you to carry over some funds to the following year.

4 — Contribute to a 529: If you’re using a 529 for education savings, make your allowable contributions by December 31 in order to take advantage of any Georgia income tax benefits or to be eligible for the federal gift-tax exclusion.

5 — Max Out Your 401(k): Take a look at your current 401(k), and make sure you’re contributing the maximum amount possible … or at least matching the amount your employer is putting in for you. Not only will you save on your taxes, you’ll be generating retirement income for the future.

6 — Consider Capital Gains: Any capital losses you realize before December 31 can be used to offset any gains. If your net losses exceed your gains, you can offset an additional $3,000 of ordinary income — any losses beyond that limit can be carried forward to future tax years.

7 — Convert Your IRA: If you want to convert a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, it must be done by December 31. While you’ll have to pay tax on any income associated with the traditional IRA, you’ll be able to withdraw the funds tax-free at retirement. And, because a Roth IRS does not require RMDs, you can access the funds as you need them (after age 59½).

8 — Donate to Charity: If you itemize your deductions, you can still deduct your charitable donations. And if you don’t, you can still get that “feel good” feeling of helping out an organization in need!

If you have any questions about making these moves, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to help you work out the details.

Meet the Team: Jackie Self, CPA

Jackie Self is the owner of Premier CPA Services, which she started as Jackie Seabolt CPA in May 2011. Jackie was the sole CPA at the firm until hiring Donna Hills in 2018. Jackie received her CPA license in 2008 after earning an AA from Truett McConnell and a BS in Accounting from Kennesaw State University.

Before starting Premier CPA Services, Jackie worked as a CPA for Randy Kramer & Associates. She has more than 20 years of experience in tax, accounting, financial reviews and planning. She uses Quickbooks, Thompson Reuters Accounting & Tax, Microsoft Word and Excel.

Jackie enjoys speaking at events to inform the public about tax advantages and rules. She is the Past Chairman of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, the Past President & Treasurer of the Blue Ridge Rotary Club, and Treasurer of the Fannin County Scholarship Foundation.

Jackie currently lives on a small farm in the Dial community with her husband Jamie. She enjoys being a wife and mother of two boys and one girl (plus three dogs and two cats). She loves to travel, and her favorite book/movie is Gone with the Wind.