Creating a Year-End Tax Projection

Matt Richardson

In-Charge Staff Accountant

As the end of the year approaches, a lot of us take time to look back at the past year and plan for the year ahead. Now is the time to look for new opportunities, plan for the future, and take steps to avoid surprises.

Teaming up with your advisor to put together a year-end tax projection is a good idea that’s worth making time for. A tax projection is essentially an estimated tax return that will use a combination of information you already know and estimates of things you can’t know until the year is over to form a rough idea of what to expect come tax time. No projection will be perfect, especially in recent years when tax laws have changed so frequently and drastically. But starting with a good projection can eliminate at least some unknowns. In the words of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Unpleasant surprises often come in the form of a higher-than-expected amount of tax due with your return, and a year-end projection can help avoid this. In many cases, an extra year-end estimated payment might be a good idea, since it can help ensure timely payment and avoid incurring penalties or interest that the government might add on to your balance due.

In addition, a year-end tax projection can often help you and your advisor uncover opportunities for additional tax savings. For many people, this might come in the form of maximizing contributions to retirement savings accounts, health savings accounts, or education savings accounts. It can also aid in the planning of charitable giving.

Beyond that, a year-end projection can aid in planning for future savings, as well. For business owners, conducting a projection can help in evaluating timing decisions for major investments in equipment or other aspects of their businesses. The same activity might have different tax consequences if it takes place before or after the current year ends. Certain deductions and credits for individuals have annual limits, as well. Some of these are fixed and other limits have a sliding scale based on your adjusted gross income (AGI) as calculated on your tax return. A tax projection can show whether the benefit will be greater in the current year or in a future year.

Of course, a projection is just an estimate, and there will be uncertainties involved. But a year-end projection can help put you in the best position to step into the year ahead. For assistance with completing your year-end tax projection, please contact the tax experts at CK at 630-953-4900.

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