Here are 10 Ways to Do It
NYC-based small business & tax expert David Selig (www.truetaxhelp.com) offers 10 ways to fix your finances now so that you start 2013 on solid financial footing:
Gather your financial records - Fourth quarter means time to get your financial documents in order. Organize your tax receipts and create separate folders for medical expenses, bank and mortgages statements, business expenses, and such. While you're at it, shop for a good tax return preparer, as the IRS is expected to beef up audits this year.
Review your budget - Look at what you spent in the first nine months, and plan your budget for next year. Make a commitment to paying off credit card debt.
Spend on technology - For small businesses, look at updating computers and other equipment so you can take tax deductions and get ahead of the game for next year.
Refinance your mortgage - If you haven't already refinanced your home, lock in for long term at low interest rate.
Spend on health care - Your use-it-or-lose-it flexible spending account (FSA) should be maxed out by Dec. 31. Spend what's left on hearing aids, contacts, or other health needs. Likewise, if you don't have an FSA, but are near the 7.5% threshold for healthcare tax deductions, you'll want to have that dental procedure you've been putting off, or buy new glasses so you hit the mark.
Make charitable contributions - Help those in need at holiday time, but get a receipt on all donations for tax purposes. If you're going to donate clothing or items to charity, it's a good idea to list individually what they are and the fair market value. It's also a good idea to photograph items in case you are audited so you can defend them.
Pay in advance - If you own a business and have the cash, look at paying for and writing off next year's office lease now. Individuals can also look at prepaying property taxes and mortgage interest to get the deductions now, freeing up household case next year.
Think performance review - If you get a review from your employer at the end of the year, make a list of all of your accomplishments so you can get a potential raise, which will definitely improve your finances.
Budget holiday spending - We can all get carried away at holiday time. Pay cash for gifts or at least set a budget and watch for impulse purchases. If you don't do this, you might end up taking on a lot of credit card debt into next year.
Make IRA / 410 (k) contributions - Feed your retirement fund before you find the holidays competing for your cash, and if your employer matches, max out your contribution. HBM
V20-1 Add:3/13 HP: