Reflect on 2022 to Plan for 2023

The end of one year and the beginning of another is the perfect time to pause and savor your successes. Spend time celebrating both your business and your personal accomplishments from 2022, month by month. Sure, it’s fun; but it’s also practical. Reflecting on your 2022 achievements can help form the genesis of your plans during 2023. You know what they say…a goal without a plan is just a dream

Whether you are expanding, launching a new brand, or maintaining the status quo, 2023 will be different than 2022. That means updating goals and making a new plan. Starting is always the hardest part, so begin by identifying one overarching change you want to achieve by the end of the year. 

Want more customers, higher cash flow, or a new worker? Focus on achieving that one change, then break it down into manageable pieces. Put those pieces together and you’ve got a plan to achieve it. Not sure how? Just follow these three planning tips to achieve your goals for 2023:

  1. Gather the Numbers

Quantify all the applicable aspects of your goals. This task will require some research and could entail making estimates and assumptions. For example, how many more customers do you want? Can you quantify the additional income and cost of serving more customers? What about how much a new worker would cost and how much additional income they could generate? The more numbers you can nail down, the better.

  1. Be Realistic

Keep market conditions and your resource capacity in mind when setting growth and other goals. It’s important to be realistic to ensure that your goals are achievable. Setting unrealistic objectives is not only discouraging, but it can also result in allocating resources – aka time and money – on activities that are unlikely to succeed. Better to target those resources on realistic, achievable goals.

  1. Adjust As Needed

No matter how well you research the numbers and focus on what’s realistic, any view of future events is imperfect, as we’ve seen with COVID-19. Market conditions and other factors that you depended on when setting your goals could change. Periodically assess progress on meeting your objectives. Are you on track? Why or why not? Based on those answers, you may need to make some adjustments.

The end of 2022 is the perfect time to reflect on and savor your successes, then use that warm feeling to plan your achievements for 2023. Don’t let your goals turn into the dreams you never achieved. Follow these three planning tips to establish a 2023 plan to turn those dreams into your reality. 

Is That Donation Deductible?

People don’t always make charitable donations because they are tax deductible. But if you do, you only have ten days left to report them on your 2022 income tax return. And it’s important to make sure that those donations are eligible for a tax deduction. 

Knowing when a donation is deductible isn’t always easy. There can be a lot of confusion about the meaning of terms like “qualified charity” and “donation”. To help clarify all that, we answer three questions about charitable donations and when they are tax deductible:

  1. What is a Qualified Charity?

Qualified charities include humanitarian, religious, educational, scientific, and cruelty-prevention organizations. Crowd funding, political contributions and association dues are not included. Except for religious organizations, qualified charities must apply for and be granted Tax Exempt Status by the IRS. Tax Exempt organizations have annual IRS reporting requirements. A list of qualified charities is posted in the IRS’ “Tax Exempt Organizations Search” tool at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search.

  1. What is a Donation?

Donations can be financial or non-financial items such as clothing, household goods, vehicles, stock, or real estate. Financial donations to a qualified charity are a deductible, reduced by the value or anything received in exchange, such as a meal. In general, clothing and household items can only be deducted if they are in good usable condition. The deduction amount is based on the “thrift shop” value. Donated vehicles, art work and other non-financial donations valued at more than $500 are subject to more rules and limits.

  1. What Donations are Deductible?

Financial and non-financial donations must be acknowledged contemporaneously in writing by the charity. Acknowledgements reflect which organization received the donation and when to support any deduction taken. Donations of $250 or more must be supported by a letter from the charity stating the date and amount of the donation, the charity’s reduced by the value of anything in received by the donor in return, such as a fundraising dinner.

Many taxpayers to donate to charity, whether it’s deductible or not. But if that tax deduction is important to you, it’s important to know what donations are eligible for a tax deduction. Once you understand the terms, you’ll be all ready to report charitable donations on your 2022 income tax return. Want more details? The IRS website has them for you right here https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/charitable-contribution-deductions.

Last Minute Tax Tips for 2022

Just about two weeks left to go before the year ends. Wow! You’ve probably been meaning to do some 2022 tax planning for months now, but life got in the way. Is it too late? Believe it or not, there’s still time to implement some planning moves that can improve your tax situation for 2022. 

Here are four last minute tax tips you can jump on and still enjoy the holidays:

  1. Make HSA contributions If you are an eligible individual under the health savings account (HSA) rules for December 2022, you are considered eligible for the entire year and can make a full year’s deductible contribution for 2022. The maximum contribution provides a deduction of $3,600 for individual coverage and $7,200 for family coverage. Taxpayers aged 55 or older also get an additional $1,000 catch-up amount.
  1. Nail down stock losses Consider realizing losses for stock you planned to divest anyway. Those losses can offset gains from other stock or investment asset sales. Losses that exceed gains are deductible up to $3,000 for individuals and married couples filing jointly, or up to $1,500 for married taxpayers filing separately. Any losses above the deduction limit can be carried forward to the next year to offset 2023 capital gains or other income.
  1. “Bunch” deductible contributions and/or payments of medical expenses Many taxpayers who itemized deductions before the 2017 Jobs and Tax Cut Act no longer benefit from doing so because the standard deduction was increased, and many itemized deductions have been cut back or abolished. A bunching strategy can help you get around these new limits — by accelerating or deferring discretionary medical expenses and/or charitable contributions into the year where they will exceed the standard deduction and do some tax good.
  1. Use IRAs to make charitable gifts If you are age 70½ or older, own IRAs, and are thinking of making a charitable gift, consider arranging for the gift to be made with a qualified charitable contribution, a direct transfer from the IRA trustee to the charitable organization. The transferred amount, up to $100,000, isn’t included as gross income or a deduction on your tax return. A qualified charitable contribution is a particularly good idea for retired taxpayers who don’t need all their required minimum distribution (RMD) for living expenses.

Yes, it’s late in the year for 2022 tax planning, but not entirely too late. Implementing one or more of these four last minute tax tips can improve your tax situation for 2022. That will make the holidays even merrier, won’t it?

Paying What You Owe to the IRS 

Taxpayers can’t always pay the balance due when they file their income tax return. Some individuals, for whatever reason, have an outstanding tax balance from one or more prior tax years. The IRS computer automatically sends those taxpayers a notice of the amount due, any penalties, and the accrued interest on the outstanding tax balance. Notices keep coming from the IRS computer until the taxpayer pays or takes other action to address the balance due.

If an IRS notice reporting a tax balance due arrives in your mailbox, don’t panic. Open it right away and read it carefully. Compare the notice with your tax records to make sure that there is not an error. Even if the notice is due to an IRS mistake, you need to respond to the notice to request a correction of your tax records. 

But how can you pay if the notice is accurate, and you do owe more in taxes? The IRS offers several payment options, depending on your situation:

  1. Pay Now – This is a great option if you can do it, especially with higher interest rates (e.g., 7% for first quarter 2023). Paying the full balance online does not involve a fee if you can have the balance due debited from your bank account. Credit card payments are an option, but the fees are high. Read the fine print first before making your decision. https://www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application
  1. Short Term Payment Plan – If you can pay the amount due in 120 days or less and the total amount due is less than $100,000, this could be the best option for you. No set-up fee is charged, and you can pay via direct debit from the bank account of your choice. The application process differs based on the tax liability outstanding. Applications for higher amounts require a more thorough review to determine if assets can be liquidated to pay the taxes due. https://www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application 
  1. Installment Agreement – If you need more than 120 days to pay, this option requires a set-up fee of between $31 and $225. Installment Agreements may require some financial information from you, depending on the tax amount due. Again, applications for higher amounts require more review. https://www.irs.gov/payments/payment-plans-installment-agreements#costs
  1. Offer in Compromise – The IRS wants to collect all taxes due but does not want to create a financial burden on taxpayers. An Offer in Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed if paying your full tax liability would create a financial hardship. See if you qualify at https://www.irs.gov/payments/offer-in-compromise.

Taxpayers who receive an automated past due notice from the IRS shouldn’t panic. After checking it over to make sure it is correct, they should go to https://www.irs.gov/payments and review the payment options available based on the amount due and ability to pay. The worst thing to do is to ignore the notice. With interest on unpaid balances accruing an annual rate of 7%, time only makes the problem more expensive.