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Tax and Spend
Last-minute Tax Tips for You and your Business
February, 2009 - Issue #52
Consider Switching to Tax-Deferred Investment Vehicles
If you own mutual funds in a non-qualified account, you will owe taxes on gains from any trades made by the mutual fund manager - even though you may have a net loss on your account for the year. Consider transferring these monies to a tax-deferred account where taxes on future gains will be deferred and you can claim the current loss on your tax return now.
Resource: Scott Alexander, founder and president of Alexander Financial Group 295-8338

The Self Employed Retirement Plan
If you are self-employed or own a small business, there is still time to set up a SEP-IRA for the 2008 tax year. This is a retirement plan with virtually no costs that enables you to contribute as much as 25 percent of your income, up to $46,000, which is substantially more than the traditional IRA limit of $5,000.
Resource: Josh Elliott of Newport Advisory 296-8080

Divorce and Dependants
If you are divorced, look at your judgment to determine if you are permitted to claim the kids as dependants. There are many different agreements parties come to with respect to this issue. If the judgment is silent on this issue, the presumption is that the higher-earning parent takes the deductions. Check your judgment to confirm you are complying with the orders.
Resource: April E. Oliver, attorney at The Reape - Rickett Law Firm 288-1000

Write Off that Loss
We all know that it was a tough year for investments - however, you can ease the pain slightly at tax time this year by applying up to $3,000 of your losses to offset your taxable income and carry forward any losses in excess of $3,000 for future tax years. Keep in mind, if your losses are in your 401k or IRA you cannot claim the $3,000 loss on your tax return. The use of the "loss" is only available to you if you actually sold any of your investments.
Resource: Tamara Gurney, president and CEO of Mission Valley Bank 775-4111

Get a Refund for Previously-Paid Taxes or Save in the Future
Businesses that sustained an operating loss may be able to benefit from carrying what is called a net operating loss (NOL) into a different tax year - a tax year in which you had or will have taxable income - and take a deduction for the current NOL against that different year's taxable income. This is what is known as taking an NOL deduction, which could result in a refund of previously-paid taxes or a reduction of future taxable income. Generally, an NOL can be carried back two years and forwarded for up to 20 years to offset taxable income in those years. The NOL first offsets taxable income from the previous two years (the earliest year first), and is then carried forward to offset taxable income in future years. The initial result is a refund of all or a portion of the taxes you paid for the two prior years, limited by the amount of the NOL.
Resource: Michael L. Green of Michael L. Green Tax and Financial 257-4111
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