Maximize Tax Benefits this year with Changes (a few questions/thoughts)

Maximize Tax Benefits this year with Changes (a few questions/thoughts)
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#1

So assuming that the tax changes pass I’m looking at what I can do (in my personal situation) to try to maximize my savings this year. For instance, if the standard deduction is doubling then I will no longer be able to itemize so I’ll want to give any charitable donations before the end of the year.

Additionally, I’m looking at possibly paying my march property tax payment (or perhaps any next year). Is this possible either from my escrow account or just writing a check. My county has taxes due 4x per year in Aug, Oct, Jan and March. Thoughts on this?

Obviously, I’ll want to pay my Jan 2018 mortgage payment in December. Unless I’m missing something there is no other way to “prepay” mortgage interest so that it will show up on this years return.

Any other thoughts? Mine mostly revolve around the fact that I can no longer itemize so MI, PT, sales tax, etc won’t be able to be taken as a deduction for me anymore.


#2

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#3

Wow, it sounds like you’re having the same thoughts that I’ve been having. I’d say you should check with your county to see if you can overpay or if they’ll only let you pay what they’ve billed you for.


#4

Doesn’t prepaying interest depend on your servicer?

But yes:
Charity - DAF - check the DAF thread
Income deferrals - max 401k, HSA, defer income w/ employer arrangements, etc.
Prepay anything you can, property, state income tax, etc
Tax Prep fees is going away too - pre-buy or prepay at Pay1040?


#5

Tax prep and investment fees only if you qualify for the 2% limit for miscellaneous deductions. Sometimes I do on union dues and unreimbursed employee expenses/professional fees but many years I struggle for a few hours trying to dredge up deductions before ultimately deciding not to do it. Now those are gone, so look in the 2% category and see if you need anything work related which your employer won’t pay for.


#6

I just received this in my email. Came here to post so everyone would know about it:

As you are likely aware, the current IRS code currently allows for gifts to be 80 percent deductible if giving such a donation provides the right to purchase tickets for seating at athletic events. Under tax legislation passed by Congress this week, the ability to deduct charitable contributions associated with the purchase of tickets would no longer be available, effective January 1, 2018. We are continuing to work with University constituents and development colleagues around the country on analyzing the full implications of this bill.


#7

Good change. Why should anyone be able to deduct their football tickets in the VIP box?


#8

Let’s try not to talk about “good” or “bad” It will devolve into politics. Lets just keep it about what is actually happening without any emotion attached.


#9

I’m not sure the tickets portion of it was deductible before, just the “donation” to allow the person to buy tickets.

That does impact someone like my parents that give heavy to the local university and also buy tickets. They do give significantly more than the minimum needed to get a ticket in their section though… It’ll be interesting to see what that means to universities, etc.


#10

We’ve had discussions about this and my understanding is that state and local INCOME tax can’t be prepaid for 2018, because you don’t yet have a 2018 liability. Even if the state allows you to pay it, it won’t be deductible on the federal return. I suppose you could always try and see what happens…


#11

Right. You can’t deduct unaccrued interest. The payment due January 1 contains interest accrued during December, that’s why you are allowed to deduct it.


#12

Here’s a Forbes article that may or may not help:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/12/20/what-your-itemized-deductions-on-schedule-a-will-look-like-after-tax-reform/#310726846334


#13

Yup - donate $5000 and you can buy a ticket for $10. The same ticket can probably be resold for something close to that. What a donation. We swear the fair value of the ticket is $10 because we let our students buy them for $10 too - one each. Fact that it goes for $4000 on stubhub.must be irrelevant.


#14

I just had a thought. If you have a need for some medical work, like a new hip, heart, teeth, etc, those would be good to do this year :smile:


#15

Plus the medical deduction is actually lowered for 2017 and 2018 to a 7.5% AGI minimum, rather than the Obamacare increased minimum of 10%. Between that and the increased difficulty of itemizing in 2018, this is a good time for paying (prepaying?) any needed medical expenses.