The end of the year is nigh. With the holidays, projects at work, and time off, these next few weeks will fly by. But there are a few items we need to check off our to-do lists before December 31, 2015. I’m talking about legally sheltering money. We are all trying not to get killed at tax time, so taking a few minutes to make last-minute contributions to certain types of accounts is more than worth it. Here are three simple ways to legally shelter money:
- Your 401(k). If you have a 401(k) through your employer, all contributions for the 2015 tax year must be made by December 31st.
- Your Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have an HSA on your own or through an employer it’s a great place to legally shelter your money. In 2015, the max contribution limit is $3,350 for a single person and $6,650 for a family.
- A 529 plan. If you live in Indiana you are well aware of how big a fan I am of 529 plans. 529 plans are not only great for saving for education costs, but they can also have some great tax benefits. For example. in Indiana you earn a 20% income tax credit on all contributions up until you reach a $1,000 tax credit each year. Check what benefits your state’s 529 plan offers.
Even if you have all three of these, you can easily make all your contributions within 15 minutes. This doesn’t have to be a major time suck. Plus the benefits to doing this will be very apparent when tax time rolls around. While we’re talking about taxes, here’s my tax tip: file early. Fraud was rampant last year, but by filing early you can prevent identity thieves from filing for you. Start prepping your materials soon so you can file as early as you can.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.