Checklist for 2008 year-end tax planning |

Checklist for 2008 year-end tax planning

William Creekbaum
For the Nevada Appeal

Planning strategies I believe you should consider discussing with your tax professional and Financial Advisor before year-end:

– Consider taking capital losses to offset realized capital gains.

– Have your tax advisor estimate your adjusted gross income and tax rate and determine now if you have an AMT liability for 2008. If so, you may consider accelerating taxable income and or defer deductions.

– Ask your Financial Advisor for help rebalancing your portfolio to remain in line with your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

– Consider matching up the sales of any securities that have losses to potentially offset some of the capital gains you may owe, and how to comply with wash sale rules.

– Fully fund your IRA and company retirement accounts as soon as possible.

– If you are age 70 or older, don’t forget about taking a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your Traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRA for 2008.

– If you would like to make a tax-free donation of your RMD, up to $100,000, to your favorite qualified charity, act now so you can make the transfer before year-end.

– If you want to use appreciated stock to make a charitable donation, do so by year-end to qualify for a potential income tax deduction. You can also arrange to contribute appreciated stock to a donor-advised fund.

– Talk to your Financial Advisor about gifting up to $12,000 per child to a 529 College Savings Plan. If you have UGMA or UTMA accounts set up for a child, find out how you can transfer these funds to a 529 account for greater tax benefits.

– If you own a business, establish a qualified retirement plan by Dec. 31, 2008 to be eligible for a contribution for this year.

– Consider developing a borrowing plan to cover your tax obligations”one that helps to unlock value in the assets you own, without liquidating those assets or using cash.

– Complete any gift transfers by year-end to reduce your estate”and to feel good. You are entitled to transfer up to $12,000 per recipient in 2008 without incurring any federal gift tax, while spouses together may donate up to $24,000 per recipient. These annual gifts may be in addition to any direct tuition or medical payments made on behalf of another person.

– Use any balance in your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for qualified medical expenses for 2008. When estimating your contributions for next year, consider the increasing costs of uncovered medical expenses. Average premium and out-of-pocket costs for health coverage are projected to increase by nearly 9% in 2009, to $3,826 per year.

– William Creekbaum, MBA, CFP, a Washoe Valley resident, is senior investment management consultant of SmithBarney, a financial services firm serving Northern Nevada at 6005 Plumas Street, Ste. 200 Reno, NV 89509. He can be reached at at 689-8704 or by e-mail me at William.a.creekbaum@ .