10 common items that drive your taxes.
If your family dynamics changed, reevaluate your filing status and see what credits and deductions you might be eligible for.
Know which type of stock awards you own so you can plan for the tax implications.
Don't forget to report Roth conversion amounts and RMDs as taxable income.
Investment losses can be used to reduce tax exposure.
There is still time to make HSA and IRA contributions for 2022.
Evaluate tax planning strategies that might allow you to itemize in 2023.
Taxes are your largest expense, so tax planning becomes more important as your life evolves. If this key part of your financial plan is mismanaged, it can have a ripple effect on other areas of your plan.
Tax services are now included in our service offering, and tax return preparation is long underway.
To help you, we wanted to share the most common items that impact tax exposure.
*For a more comprehensive checklist, see the guides at the end of the blog*
If you said, “I Do” at any point in 2022, you can file a joint tax return with your spouse. Filing a joint return will allow you to take advantage of various benefits, deductions, and tax breaks that may not be available if you file separately. For example, if you elect married filing jointly (MFJ), the 37% tax bracket doesn’t kick in until your income is over $647,850 in 2022, but for married filing separately (MFS), it kicks in at $323,925 – a huge difference.
There are some specific situations where MFS might be beneficial, so make sure you discuss it with your advisor and/or CPA to determine the best filing status.
If your divorce was finalized in 2022, you will be required to file a single return for 2022. For some, this may mean less tax exposure, but if you were the sole income earner and/or a high-income earner, the smaller standard deduction and higher income tax brackets could mean owing more.
If you meet the requirements to file as head of household instead of single, you can take advantage of a larger standard deduction and wider income tax brackets.
Welcoming a baby in 2022 means you might be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC) – a credit to help offset the cost of raising kids. If your qualifying child meets all eligibility requirements and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is not more than $200,000 (Single) or $400,000 (MFJ), you’ll receive the full $2,000 credit. You can claim the credit for EACH qualifying child, and it is partially refundable – meaning, if you don’t owe taxes or the credit is more than the taxes you owe, you can get up to $1,500/credit back in your tax refund.
Other credits to be aware of are the Child and Dependent Care Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Adoption Credit. Each has its own eligibility factors to consider and varies in the amount of credit.
Don’t forget about your 529 Plan contributions! While you won’t receive any tax benefits at the federal level, over 30 states offer income tax deductions or credits for making contributions to a 529 Plan. Most states only provide the state income tax benefit if you contribute to your home state’s 529 Plan, but eight states do offer the tax benefit for contributions to any plan.
Depending on the type of equity compensation you receive (RSUs, ISOs, NQSOs), you’ll need to plan for the tax implications that vesting, exercising, and selling can have from year to year, so you can maximize your keep.
Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are taxable as ordinary income in the year they vest. For example, if 100 shares of your company stock vested in 2022 at $100/share, you will have to include an additional $10,000 in taxable income for 2022. While that might not seem like a lot, that amount might push you into a higher income tax bracket and could increase your tax liability.
Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) can offer more control over when taxes are triggered and provide preferential tax treatment if certain holding periods are met. However, if you exercise (purchase) your ISOs, special alternative minimum tax (AMT) considerations will apply. For stocks whose market price is significantly higher than your exercise price, the tax liability could be significant.
Did you convert Pre-tax dollars to Roth? Any amount that was converted during 2022 should be reported as taxable income on your return. There are two ways you can pay taxes on this conversion:
1) Withhold a percentage of the conversion amount to pay taxes.
Considerations: You won't have to pay the tax bill out of pocket, but fewer shares will be converted and grow tax-free.
2) Pay the taxes with cash.
Considerations: You'll pay the tax bill out of pocket, but every single share will be converted and grow tax-free.
As you evaluate your Roth conversion strategy for 2023, consider Option 2 for paying taxes. With stocks still at a discount, you’d rather have them grow tax-free than be sold at a discount for taxes.
Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)
If you turned age 72 in 2022 and took a distribution from your retirement accounts, don’t forget to report that as taxable income for 2022. If you haven’t taken your 2022 RMD yet, you have until April 1, 2023, to do so. But, keep in mind, you will still be required to take your 2023 RMD by December 31st this year and every year going forward. There were big changes to the RMD rules because of the SECURE Act 2.0, so if you are approaching RMD age, work with your advisor and CPA to see how these changes might impact you.
Didn’t need your RMD to supplement spending last year? Consider making a Qualified Charitable Distribution in 2023 as a tax-efficient way to donate to your favorite charity.
Did you sell any investments for a loss in 2022? While taking losses doesn’t feel good, they can be used in several ways to help reduce your tax liability each year.
1) First, losses can be used to offset realized gains partially or completely.
2) Then, remaining losses can offset your ordinary income up to $3,000.
3) Finally, any remaining losses can be carried forward for use in future years.
You have until April 18th to make 2022 contributions to these accounts.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can offer triple tax-free benefits and help you save for unknown medical expenses in retirement. If you already contributed for 2022, don’t forget to report your contribution on your Form 1040 so you receive the tax deduction. If you haven’t contributed but are in a high deductible health plan, consider contributing for 2022 and develop a contribution strategy for 2023 so you can start building up your health care slush fund.
If Traditional or Roth IRA contributions were part of your 2022 financial plan, you still have time to make those contributions. This would include a Backdoor Roth IRA strategy which allows you to convert a non-deductible IRA contribution to a Roth IRA.
Note: If you realize gains on a conversion in 2023, the gains will be taxable in 2023.
Itemizing vs. Standard Deduction
Are your itemized deductions close to the standard deduction amount for 2022? You might be able to take advantage of some tax planning strategies that would allow you to itemize in 2023.
If you expect your medical expenses to be high this year (at least greater than 7.5% of AGI), that can put you over the standard deduction threshold. Or, if you are charitably inclined, bunching your donations in 2023 to make multiple years’ worth of donations might allow you to itemize in 2023.
Simply filing your tax return isn’t tax planning. Think of your tax return as your report card on tax management. It’s important to review your most recent tax return each year so you can proactively identify potential planning opportunities. You work hard for your money. Find ways to keep more of what’s yours.
When you're ready, we can help in two ways:
Below are checklists that outline nearly two dozen considerations to help guide you through your returns and start planning for future years.
2) Free, 30-minute consultation
FMI is one of the only fiduciary advisory firms that includes tax preparation and planning as part of its services.
Click here to schedule your free consultation today to see how we can help.
Katie Blechschmidt, CFP®
Director of Client Success