Updating will, other things to do by Dec. 31

The Ticker

December 09, 1998|By Julius Westheimer

MOVES TO make before year's end:

Where prudent, save taxes by offsetting stock, bond, mutual fund, real estate and other capital gains with losses.

Pay your Jan. 15 Maryland income tax installment and 1999 real estate tax before Dec. 31. You get the deduction a year earlier.

Update your will. Many estate, gift, generation-skipping and other tax regulations have changed.

If you're self-employed, set up a Keogh before the Dec. 31 deadline. You need not fund the plan until the due date of your tax return.

Start making the annual year-end list: list your banks, brokerages, lawyers, safe-deposit box contents, business contacts, etc. Give copies to your spouse, children, lawyer and whoever has your power of attorney.

Photograph or videotape your home, furniture, jewelry and all valuables. This makes proof easier if you have an insurance claim for fire, theft, damage, etc. Keep that photographic proof in your safe-deposit box.

Push as much income as possible into 1999. If you're to receive a year-end bonus, ask your boss to defer payment until Jan. 1.

Maximize tax deductions -- charities, allowable business expenses, mortgage and home equity loan interest. Regarding charities, donate appreciated stock, not cash.

Consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA in 1998. Conversion this month postpones conversion taxes a full year.

Make tax-free gifts of up to $10,000 to as many people as you wish before Dec. 31. Recipients' checks must be deposited before year's end.

On all of the above, check with your broker, lawyer, or tax person where applicable.

Pub Date: 12/09/98

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