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  • Financial Management_150

    By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
    Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan University
    Published October 2016

    Children are going back to school, days are getting shorter, vacations are now over, and the leaves have started to fall; all signs that the fall season is quickly approaching. As we get back into our normal routines—going to school, going to work, and preparing our homes for winter—it is also time to clean up our finance house.

    Prepare for Tax Time 

    Soon the holidays will be upon us then comes the new year. With the new year comes another season, "tax season." Are your finances ready for the taxman? The time is now to start organizing our finances and prepare for 2016 taxes. We all can to do our best to reduce our taxable income and receive as many tax credits as possible. To do this it's important to look at student loans, savings accounts, and retirement accounts.

    Student Loans 

    Students and parents alike must look at their student loans. Do an inventory on current student loans and how much is needed to complete a degree program. Explore the credits and deductions that can help reduce your tax debt. If your children have not yet started college, now would be a good time to start to save if you have young children to help reduce the costs when the time is right for them to enter college.

    Education Credit: Criteria must be met in order to receive the Education Credit. One criterion is the student must be enrolled at an eligible educational institution. See the Internal Revenue Service website for specific qualifications.

    Depending on your adjusted gross income, tuition and fees deduction can reduce your income up to $4,000. Student Loan Interest Deduction may be available if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $80,000 the interest paid on student loans can be deducted.

    These credits and deductions will help you when you go to get your taxes done. Start preparing now so you will know what is the best option for your current finances.

    Savings and Retirement 

    How you are doing with your finances and planning for your future? Have you been putting money in your retirement account? Saving money in your retirement account is more important now than ever.  With the uncertainty of Social Security being available, a retirement account could be needed to supplement your retirement. Make sure you get the credits for the funds added to your retirement accounts. The type of deduction you can use depends on whether you use "pre-tax" dollars or "after tax" dollars.

    Have you used all the tax credits available? It may be time to discuss with your tax preparer what you can do now to reduce your tax liability later. April 15 comes very quickly. When you have questions about your tax liability or retirement account limits, visit the Internal Revenue Service website for the latest information.

    Dr. Denise Schoenherr is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

    The contents of this article are presented for informational purposes only. Always check with a professional regarding any questions you may have regarding your taxes.

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