It May Be Time for a Quick “Check-Up”

Did you:

  • have either a large balance due or refund received on your 2023 tax return
  • change jobs the beginning of 2024
  • change your marital status this year?

If so, we recommend contacting your tax preparer to see if any adjustments may need to be made to the taxes withheld from your pay or to your quarterly estimated tax payments scheduled to be paid for 2024 .

Getting a head-start on your tax planning considerations earlier in the year vs waiting until closer to year-end makes it easier to achieve your desired goals.   Making a few minor changes early in the year can result in a bigger impact than if you wait until the end of the year. Waiting until year-end often requires a significant adjustment to make up for the entire year with only a month or two remaining at that point.

If you think changes may be needed or would like to discuss the items mentioned above, contact your tax preparer who can advise you on how to best prevent big surprises at tax time next winter.

Be Sure to Check Your Paystub During the Year

Surprises” on employee paychecks, though generally infrequent, do occur.  A few items to check throughout the year on your paystub to be sure your payroll company is reporting income and deductions accurately per your instructions throughout the year:

  1. Are your federal and state withheld taxes being withheld at the rate requested per your current W-4 certificate?
  2. If your employer is located in another state be sure taxes are being withheld to the correct state (generally your state of residence unless you are physically present and working in another state).
  3. Are benefits being deducted correctly on your paystub (flexible spending accounts for dependent care benefits and health care, health savings account, health and dental insurance, group-term life insurance)?
  4. Check that your salary deferral funded into your 401k or 403b plan is being properly withheld and properly categorized as either Roth or pre-tax.
  5. Be sure that your most recent pay increase and bonus payments are properly reflected on your paystub.

Still Waiting on Your 2023 US Tax Refund?

Most federal tax refunds are issued by the IRS within 21 days of filing a tax return.  However, there are infrequent situations when the IRS needs more time than normal to review a tax return and issue a refund.  The IRS has a simple to use tool on their website for taxpayers that are waiting on a refund to assist taxpayers to check on the status of their tax return still in process by the IRS.  Taxpayers can go to “Where’s My Refund?” on the IRS website found at the link below:

https://www.irs.gov/wheres-my-refund

This site is updated once per day.  Taxpayers will need their social security number, filing status of the tax return, and the exact amount of the refund to enter in order to receive an update on the processing status of their tax return.  Once the requested information is entered, taxpayers will receive an update based upon one of the three statuses listed below:

  • Tax return received,
  • Tax refund approved, or
  • Tax refund sent

There is also an automated call-in line to check on your refund status.  The Refund Hotline number is 800-829-1954.

The IRS also offers on-line assistance for taxpayers to check on the status of a federal amended tax return.  Taxpayers can get an update by using the IRS link: https://www.irs.gov/filing/wheres-my-amended-return

To access information on the status of your amended tax return on this site, taxpayers will need their social security number, date of birth and zip code to be input at this site.  The typical time frame for processing of amended tax returns is approximately 20 weeks.

Need to Pay Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments?

The IRS offers a quick and easy way to make your quarterly estimated tax payments online using their Direct Pay tool:

https://www.irs.gov/payments/direct-pay

Taxpayers can make a variety of tax federal payments via this IRS on-line payment tool, such as tax return balances due, estimated tax payments, tax balances owed as a result of an IRS tax notice received, and installment agreement payments among other types of tax payments needing to be paid to the IRS.  Taxpayers using this payment site will receive immediate confirmation of the payment made using this website once the on-line transaction has been completed.

And most states offer a similar on-line payment tool as well.

Still Need to File a tax Return for Your Child’s W-2 They Received in January?

Frequently, children may need to file a tax return when they work a summer or part-time job while in school.  And although their income often is below the filing requirement threshold of owing any income tax, filing a tax return would be primarily to get the federal and state withheld taxes from their pay refunded to them.

Another tool offered on the IRS website is the option to “File your taxes for free”.  Typically, as long as the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for a taxpayer is $79,000 or less, this tool is an easy-to-use option for less complicated tax returns needing to be filed.  This free e-file link can be found on the IRS website noted below:

https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free

And if your child’s tax return is filed late (after the April 15 filing due date), as long as no taxes are owed and your child’s tax return is due a refund, then there are no late penalties assessed for the late filed tax return.

Now Available Online – Watch Alex’s Recent Financial Webinars

If you missed any of Alex Oliver’s great webinars this tax season, don’t worry!  We’ve posted recordings of them on our Webinar Library:

INVESTMENT VISION FOR 2024

What does the climate look like for investing in 2024? Last year saw a rally in stocks amidst rising interest rates and tempering inflation. The Ukraine war continued, China displayed some economic weakness, and the conflict in Israel unsettled the world. Join wealth advisor Alex Oliver for his annual recap and themes to watch for in the new year.

THE QUICK & DIRTY PERSONAL FINANCE CHECKUP

If you like benchmarks and checklists, this is the webinar for you. We will build the foundation of a financial plan with high level thoughts on where you should be at your age or stage of life. Looking to retire early, or just simply around age 65? We will discuss where you should be now. Is your family properly covered by insurance and an estate plan? We’ll cover the basics for what you need today. Think you are close to retirement today? We will cover the financial and non-financial items you need to consider before you leave the paycheck and employer benefits behind!

ROTH CONVERSIONS TO LOWER INCOME TAX LIABILITY 

You may have been properly advised all your working life to maximize your 401(k) and take advantage of the pre-tax deduction. This avoided income tax on those contributions during your highest earning years. However, Uncle Sam always looms large. Those 401(k) plans will soon need to pay taxes when they are withdrawn. With proper planning for your own retirement income needs as well as the inheritance you wish to leave to your heirs, we can work together to ensure Uncle Sam needs to find income from someone else. Join Alex Oliver as he runs through several situations and tax calculations for ideas you may wish to implement.

REVIEWING “DIE WITH ZERO” AND “I WILL TEACH YOU TO BE RICH”

Personal finance self-help books have always been around, but these two have captured the attention of many Americans these past two years. The “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” book was even turned into an eight-episode Netflix series. Both do a fantastic job of discussing behavioral finance topics, initiating high-level conversations around how to “think” about money before actually diving into the specific strategies and tactics to employ. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Alex Oliver would like to highlight some of the strongest takeaways from these two books that he discusses regularly with his clients.