1. You can make contributions to a regular IRA by April 18, 2017 and still deduct them on your 2016 tax return.
    • Eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500.
    • If you are over 50, you can contribute up to $6,500.
    • There are phase-outs by income level.
  2. You may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit if you paid for care for your child, your spouse, or other dependent.
    • Credit is 20% to 35% of your allowable expenses.
    • Maximum expense is $3,000 for one qualifying dependent or $6,000 for two or more.
  3. If you are paying for higher education for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent you may be eligible for education credits.
    • American Opportunity Credit
      • Up to $2,500 credit per student for qualifying undergraduate college expenses.
      • Can only be claimed for four years.
    • Lifetime Learning Credit
      • Up to $2,000 credit per tax return (not per student) for undergraduate or graduate college expenses.
      • No maximum on number of years to claim.
    • If you don’t qualify for the credits, you still may be able to deduct up to $4,000 of tuition and fees on Form 8917.
    • Starting in 2016, the student must have Form 1098-T to be eligible for the education credits or deduction.
  4. You can deduct, on Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), contributions to charities.
    • The contribution must be made to a qualified charity.
    • If you receive something in return, the value of what you receive must be deducted from your contribution.
    • Deductions for donations of property are limited to their fair market value.
    • For donations valued at more than $250, you need a written statement from the charity.
  5. Can’t pay what you owe? The IRS has payment plans.
    • There are short-term and long-term payment plans if you owe less than $50,000.
    • Some taxpayers are eligible for offers in compromise.
  6. Your refund may be applied to other debt such as:
    • Delinquent student loans.
    • State income tax obligations.
    • Unpaid child and spousal support.
  7. Be careful of phone scams.
    • Senior citizens are favorite victims of phone scammers.
      • The scammers alter their caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
      • They use fake names and IRS badge numbers.
      • They use scare tactics to get the victims to preload a debit card or wire funds.
    • The IRS will never initiate payment action through phone calls and will never ask for payment through debit cards, gift cards, or money transfer.
  8. If you turned age 70½ during 2016, you must start receiving minimum distributions from your retirement accounts by April 1, 2017.
    • You will also need to take your 2017 required minimum distribution by December 31, 2017.
  9. Military service members:
    • Serving in combat zones can be eligible for special extensions to file their tax return – up to 180 days after the end of their service in the combat zone.
    • Can get free tax help through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, both on bases in the U.S. and overseas.
  10. Adoption
    • Qualifying adoption expenses may make you eligible for a nonrefundable credit up to $13,460 per child. Unused credit can be carried forward up to five years.
    • Applies to both foreign and domestic adoptions.
    • There are income limits.

Need help? Want to know more? Call me at 402-504-3497.

Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.

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