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Financial Planning Tip February 2024

The books are closed on 2023, and you can't change your tax outlook anymore. Or can you? A few items are worth your consideration before tax season ramps up.

  • You will be eligible to make IRA contributions until your return's due date. This is April 15, or October 15, 2024 if you file for an extension. While Roth IRAs are only available for those who meet certain requirements, everyone with earned income can make a traditional IRA contribution. However, contributions are only deductible under certain circumstances, and mixing deductible and non-deductible contributions results in recordkeeping requirements that aren't for the faint of heart. We don't recommend doing so without full knowledge of what you're in for.

  • If you have income from self employment, you can open a SEP-IRA and fund it before the tax deadline. This is helpful because other retirement accounts need to be opened during that tax year in order to enjoy a deduction.

  • If you were eligible to make contributions to a health savings account in 2023, you can do that up until tax day. Limits for 2023 are $3,850 for self-only coverage and $7,750 for family coverage with an additional $1,000 for those over age 55.

  • If you participate in a flexible spending account (FSA) with a "use it or lose it" provision, there's usually a grace period to submit expenses for 2023. The expense needs to be incurred in 2023, but you can still request reimbursement for those expenses in 2024. The deadline is typically March 15 of the following year, but it varies from plan to plan. In a similar vein, you can take reimbursements from a HSA, but there is no deadline to submit prior year expenses.

One final addendum: Congress is still considering changes to the tax code affecting 2023. This has become par for the course in recent years, but changes this year are particularly late. Filing season opened on January 29, and the bill, which has a good chance of being signed into law, has only passed the House as of this writing. Most changes affect businesses, but there are also changes to the child tax credit affecting many mid-to-low income taxpayers. Further, changes to the deductibility of state and local taxes have been discussed as a bargaining chip, which would affect many taxpayers. (Although, the debate about state and local taxes has been ongoing for six years without any changes.) If you'd like to play it safe, you may wish to wait until Congress decides what changes -- if any -- it will make to last year's rulebook. The IRS states it will adjust returns automatically for eligible taxpayers who are affected by ex post facto changes.


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