This weekend between Christmas and New Year’s, many households including mine will be tuned in to non-stop college football bowl games. While lounging on your comfy couch watching Rutgers vs Notre Dame and Michigan vs Kansas State, take a few minutes to review this tax planning checklist for 2013. You still have Monday and Tuesday to take action on some, so these few minutes might save you some hard-earned cash:
Establish homestead. – In order to qualify for a homestead exemption of up to $50,000 in the state of Florida, you must not only show proof of ownership but also provide proof of occupancy as of January 1st. Filing deadline is March 1st.
Fund your retirement. Contribute as much as you can to such tax-advantaged plans as your 401(k). There’s still time to make that happen.
Consider your children. Have you been considering establishing an education savings account or taking advantage of a 529 college savings plan? It’s not too late.
Assess your tax situation. Has 2013 brought about any changes that affect your tax bracket? Is it time to adjust your withholding payments?
Adapt your budget. Has your life changed in the past year? If you got married, divorced, had a baby, moved, lost a job or accepted a new one, adjust your budget to reflect these changes.
Evaluate your debt. What do you owe? Priortize payoff of debts carrying the highest interest.
Check your will. Is it updated? Does it reflect your true wishes? Is it time to establish a trust?
Assess your insurance. How is your insurance coverage for home or rental, health, life and disability? It’s critically important to understand what’s covered and what’s not.
Analyze the pros and cons of refinancing your home mortgage. After taking into account the expenses and tax benefits of refinancing, is it a wise move for you? Current interest rates are shown below. Source: Freddie Mac
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.48 percent. Last year at this time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.35 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.52 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.65 percent.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3 percent. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.7 percent.
- 1-year ARMs averaged 2.56 percent. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged the exact same as today’s percentage.
Happy bowling and may your team win!