As deadline looms, CPA financial planners offer their favorite last-minute tax tips

The clock is ticking, and taxpayers have only days left to file their 2007 returns.

To help them as they race toward the April 15 deadline, CPAs holding the Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS) credential of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offer their favorite last-minute tax tips:

  • If you cannot deduct a contribution to a traditional IRA, always make a Roth IRA contribution instead. Earnings on Roth IRA accounts can be withdrawn tax free, whereas earnings on traditional IRA accounts will be taxable when withdrawn.
    Connie Brezik,
    Asset Strategies Inc., Scottsdale, AZ
    Member, AICPA Personal Financial Specialist Credential Committee

  • If they qualify, taxpayers must file a tax return to receive the Economic Stimulus rebate, even though they may owe no tax and might not otherwise be required to file.
    Irvin Diamond,
    REDW Stanley Advisors, Albuquerque, NM
    Member, AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

  • Double-check your higher education credits.
    Michael Eisenberg, Los Angeles, CA
    Member, AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

  • One advantage of a declining stock market is the opportunity to realize capital losses. These can be very helpful in offsetting gains. There’s no limit on the number of carry-forward years.
    Beth Gamel,
    Pillar Financial Advisors, Waltham, MA
    Member, AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

  • Make your IRA contributions by April 15. You can extend your income tax return. Contributions to an IRA, which may result in a 2007 income tax reduction, cannot be extended.
    Randi Grant,
    Berkowitz Dick Pollack & Brant, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Chair, AICPA Personal Financial Planning Networking Group

  • Consider contributing to education savings plans if such contributions are consistent with your personal financial plan.
    Robert Jazwinski
    JFS Business Advisors LLC, Hermitage, PA
    Chair, AICPA Personal Financial Specialist Credential Committee

  • After you finish your 2007 return, pay attention to the marginal tax bracket your total taxable income lands in.
    Marsha LePhew,
    LePhew Financial Services, Rock Hill, SC
    Member, AICPA Investment Committee

  • Taxpayers who do their own returns should pay attention to tax credits. Everyone focuses on deductions, but few are aware of credits, which reduce taxes dollar for dollar. Pay attention to the following: Child Tax Credit, Hope Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Credit.
    Steve Levey,
    The GHP Financial Group, Denver, CO

  • Plan all year, not for 15 minutes before you have your return prepared.
    Marc Minker,
    Mahoney Cohen & Co., NY, NY
    Member, AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission

  • If you overpaid last year, you’re over-withholding. Increase the number of exemptions.
    Ken Strauss,
    Berkowitz Dick Pollack & Brant, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Member, AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee

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