2023 Tax Planning to Tax Preparation in Retirement

Taylor Wolverton sat down with us to discuss prepping your taxes in 2023. Taylor helps our clients with a focus on tax planning, and she shares a wealth of information in our recent podcast that you’ll find invaluable.

We’re going to be covering all the insights she provides in the podcast below, but feel free to listen to the episode, too.

Waiting until the last minute to file your taxes is stressful. The earlier you begin, the less anxiety and stress you’ll experience.

What do you need to be thinking about when preparing to file your 2023 tax return?

Gather Tax Forms

  • Report all 2023 Sources of Income; to name a few:
    • W-2 from your employer
    • Self-employment income and all amounts reported on 1099-NEC (nonemployee compensation)
    • 1099-INT for interest income 
    • 1099-DIV and/or 1099-B for investment income
    • 1099-R for IRA/401k/annuity/pension account distributions
    • SSA-1099 for Social Security benefits
    • Documentation of rental income
    • Any other income that applies to your situation

With money market interest rates around 4% – 5% this year, the interest reported from those accounts will likely be higher than you’re used to. If you made transfers to and from accounts in 2023 to take advantage of higher interest rates or for any other reasons, be sure that you track down your tax forms from both institutions. 

Rental Properties

Rentals are popular and allow you to make an income from properties you own throughout the year. We have many clients with rentals who will need to report this source of income on their tax return. Supply your tax preparer with as much documentation as you have available; deducting expenses associated with your rental property will lower your overall tax bill.

If you have an Airbnb or long-term rental, consider the following:

  • Work with a CPA/professional tax preparer to not avoid misreporting information
  • Maintain documentation on your rental income
  • Maintain documentation for all expenses relating to the rental
    • Include mortgage interest from your form 1098

Standard Deduction vs Itemization

Everyone who files a tax return can at least take the standard deduction. If you had certain expenses during the year that add up to a value greater than the standard deduction, you can use that value as an itemized deduction instead. If those expenses add up to less than the standard deduction, you’ll take the standard deduction since that will offer the greatest benefit in lowering tax liability.

Itemized deductions include:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate property taxes on primary home
  • Personal property taxes
  • Charitable donations (subject to dollar limitations)
  • Medical expenses (subject to dollar limitations)

It can be a lot of work to gather the above information, but especially if you’ve just started working with a tax preparer that is new to you, it may be worth submitting all of these documents to see the outcome. If you took the standard deduction last year and these items haven’t changed much, you probably don’t need to supply all of these documents. Every person is unique and there’s no right or wrong answer for everyone.

Note: For the year during which you turn age 65, your standard deduction increases. Verify your date of birth with your tax preparer to be sure you are receiving the additional standard deduction; otherwise, you may be unnecessarily overpaying taxes.

Reporting QCDs on Your Tax Return

Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) are something we talk a lot about because they’re such a valuable tool for anyone who is charitably inclined. You can donate to whatever charities you’d like to support while reducing your tax bill in doing so. As an example, let’s assume you’re in the 22% tax bracket and made a $1,000 QCD. As long as you meet the requirements, you’ll save an immediate $220 in federal tax. 

Overview on QCDs:

  • Must be over age 70.5 when the donation is made
  • Donation must be distributed directly from your IRA and be sent to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
  • Limited to donating $100,000 through this method in 2023
  • The donated IRA distribution is completely federal and state tax free because you won’t claim the distribution as income on your tax return

QCDs are reported as normal distributions on form 1099-R from your IRA. For that reason, you will need to be the one to provide the additional context to your tax preparer by letting them know the dollar amount of the QCD. For example, let’s assume you took $50,000 in distributions from your IRA and also made a QCD of $5,000 from the same IRA account in 2023. Your 1099-R will show $55,000 in distributions with no specification that $5,000 went to charity. You need to be the one to let your tax professional know to input the $5,000 as a QCD. Otherwise, it may be reported as a fully taxable distribution which negates the whole purpose of QCDs and may result in an unnecessary overpayment in taxes. 

Reporting Roth Conversions and Contributions on Your Tax Return

Like QCDs, tax forms reporting Roth conversions will not differentiate Roth conversions from normal distributions. It is true that whether it was a distribution to your checking account or a conversion to your Roth IRA, the distribution is taxed the same; however, not specifying that it is a conversion can have other consequences. 

If you’re under age 59 ½, you cannot take a normal distribution from an IRA without penalty (unless you meet certain exceptions), but you are eligible for Roth conversions at any age. It will be helpful for your tax preparer to know the additional context around the dollar amount of the Roth conversion to eliminate any unnecessary penalties that would otherwise attach to early distributions from an IRA. 

The second important specification is not just that it was a Roth conversion, but WHEN it was processed. If the WHEN is not communicated to the tax preparer, it could put you in danger of owing unnecessary underpayment penalties. For example, one of our clients did a Roth conversion in November and paid estimated taxes in November. Since the IRS is a pay-as-you-go system, they want you to pay taxes at the same time you’re receiving income/distributions, so the timing is another detail that will be important for your tax preparer to be aware of.

Context matters!

Reporting Contributions on Your Tax Return

Roth IRA contributions will not impact your taxes and are not reported on tax returns at all. You will receive a form 5498 from the account you contributed to, but oftentimes, this form isn’t available until May. You don’t need to delay submitting your tax return until you receive this form as it is just to show the contributions that you made.

If you do have any questions and are a client of ours, feel free to give us a call and we’ll help clarify anything that we can.

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