Getting a Head Start on Your 2019 Taxes
Taxes are almost always complicated. If you were hit with a large income tax bill for 2018, it’s not too late to prepare for a better outcome this year. The good news is there are steps you can take to try to keep your tax costs — and the associated headaches — down.
Decide who’ll prepare your taxes. Was last year’s tax preparer not a keeper? Start searching for a new tax pro sooner rather than later. Look for a certified public accountant (CPA), an enrolled agent (EA) or a tax attorney. While their fees may be a bit more, their knowledge could be invaluable, especially if you’ve bought or sold a property. Alternatively, many communities offer free or low-cost tax prep services. If you prepared your own taxes, consider whether it may be worthwhile to have a professional review it to make sure you didn’t miss out on any deductions.
Adjust your withholding allowance. A marriage, divorce or a new job are all reasons to file a new W-4 with your employer. If you owed a lot this tax season, consider increasing your withholding allowance. Large refunds aren’t the best use of your money either, as they indicate your withholding may be too high, so review your options either way.
Collecting Social Security? View our 2019 Guide to Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits
Record your expenses. If you traditionally wait until the end of each month or the end of the year to record deductible expenses, start tracking them as they occur. This helps ensure accuracy and makes the task much less arduous than cramming your data entry into a few days. Be sure to note expenses from your receipts, and save them in case you need them down the line.
Get (and stay) organized. Searching for misplaced files and records can make tax season even more stressful. Set up a designated space for all the paperwork you’ll inevitably collect over the course of the year. Keep a running list of all missing forms. If you think you misplaced a form, check your email. And if you don’t receive a document by January 31, contact the issuer or check their website to see if it’s available for downloading.
Run your reports. Once your income and expenses are accounted for, run reports for your own records or to give to your tax preparer. Are big line items in line with your expectations? Make sure you’ve accurately categorized all expenses, and scan them for anything out of the ordinary. A simple Excel spreadsheet can be helpful for recording, categorizing and tallying deductible expenses.
Create a “needs” checklist. Review last year’s paperwork to see what else you may need to file your return. Make a list of all the necessary documents, statements and other information, so you can track down and organize the details in a timely manner.
Know where to get help. If you have questions or need clarification (especially involving the recent tax reform), there’s always help available. From tools to videos to fact sheets, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers tax help online and by phone.
As always, you want to take your time to make sure you’re filing correctly and claiming the deductions you’re entitled to. Getting started now will help you avoid last-minute rushing, and potentially expensive mistakes.
Making the most of what you (already) have
Everyone’s familiar with the phrase: A penny saved is a penny earned. And the same goes for your tax savings. When you’re living on a fixed retirement income, you want to maximize your savings, any way you can. If you’re a homeowner age 62 or older, there are financial options available that can help free up more funds to stretch your retirement savings further.
For example, a reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, so you have cash at your disposal if and when you need it. Another advantage? Funds from a reverse mortgage loan are not subject to income taxes. So unlike earned income and retirement plan withdrawals, a reverse mortgage can potentially reduce your income tax liability.* Keep in mind, because you retain ownership of your home, you’re still responsible for meeting your loan obligations: keeping current with property taxes, insurance and maintenance.
Equity Elite is a fixed-rate, lower up-front-cost reverse mortgage that’s available exclusively through Reverse Mortgage Funding as the lender. Available in certain states, this option for homeowners and homebuyers as young as 60** is designed specifically for condominiums, higher-value homes, and those seeking lower up-front costs. Equity Elite provides a wide range of powerful benefits, including the ability to refinance your existing mortgage and/or home equity loan, consolidate debt, renovate, or buy a new home that better meets your needs.
Some retirees will need their nest eggs to last a whopping 38 years — longer than many people work over the course of their lifetime. Luckily, you have options. To learn more, call Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC (RMF) at 888-277-1567 and speak with an experienced reverse mortgage specialist about how your home equity can help you live a more comfortable retirement, and be better prepared for the future.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans retire more freely, in the comfort of their own homes. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating; a 5-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.8 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 888-277-1567 to speak with a licensed reverse mortgage specialist to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.
SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU MAY HAVE AVAILABLE
If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.
*Not tax advice, consult a financial professional.
This information is intended for those who are interested in financial education. This information is provided for convenience only, and RMF make no warranties concerning the accuracy or completeness of any of the information. Information is subject to change without notice, and RMF is under no obligation to provide updated information. Materials or statements made by a third party and located or posted on the Site are those of the third party and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RMF. This is not financial, tax, compliance or legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. Each individual should consult with his/her financial, tax, or legal professional. All mortgage origination services are provided by Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC, a state licensed mortgage lender, which is licensed or otherwise exempt from state licensing in the states in which it originates mortgage loans.
Equity Elite Reverse Mortgage (“Equity Elite”) is Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC’s proprietary loan program, and it is not affiliated with the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan program, which is insured by FHA. Equity Elite is available to qualified borrowers who also may be eligible for HUD, FHA’s HECM program or are seeking loan proceeds that are higher than HUD, FHA’s HECM program limit. Equity Elite currently is available only for eligible properties in select states. Please contact your loan originator to see if it is currently available in your state.
Upon a maturity event, any non-borrowing individuals with an ownership interest in the property, including non-borrowing spouses, will have 90 days to purchase the property from the estate or, if the non-borrower inherits the property, pay the loan in full using any sources of funds available to them. Any non-borrowing individual, including a non-borrowing spouse, should have a plan to pay off an Equity Elite reverse mortgage upon the borrower’s death or any other maturity event. If the non-borrower is unwilling or unable to purchase the property or pay the loan in full, there is no protection for the non-borrower (including a non-borrower spouse) to maintain an interest in the home or to continue residing in the home past the maturity event and the non-borrower may be evicted upon foreclosure. The FHA HECM program has protections in place for certain non-borrowing parties, so a reverse mortgage applicant with certain non-borrowing parties should strongly consider a FHA-insured HECM loan (see HECM guidelines or ask an RMF representative for details). Under the Equity Elite reverse mortgage loan program, a maturity and/or default event occurs when the last surviving borrower no longer lives in the home as his or her primary residence for at least 12 months, the property charges (including taxes, insurance, or any other property charges) are not paid, required repairs are not completed or the property is not maintained, or any other maturity and/or default event, as specified in the Security Instrument, occurs.
**Not applicable in all states; some states may impose a higher age requirement. Visit www.reversefunding.com/equity-elite for details.