6 Ways Cut Your Taxes, as Long as You Act Soon

You have 16 days to lower your tax bill.

While the filing deadline for income tax returns is April 15, 2016, many opportunities to cut your 2015 tax bill nearly disappear after Dec. 31, warns Troy Lewis, a CPA and manager of the tax consulting firm Lewis & Associates in Draper, Utah.

The year soon ending offers many opportunities and potential pitfalls for taxpayers, thanks to the global rout in oil and commodity markets and a bevy of corporate mergers that could result in a surprise tax bill.

Unfortunately for CPAs and their clients, some tax breaks may, or may not, be available this year. Congress has yet to take action on dozens of taxpayer-friendly provisions that expired on Jan. 1, including the IRA charitable transfer, which allowed taxpayers to donate IRA assets without reporting the withdrawal as income. Lewis, chairman of the Tax Executive Committee for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), has been pushing Congress to act.

In the meantime, Lewis is telling taxpayers to take advantage of the rules that are in effect: Harvest investment losses to offset capital gains, donate stock to charities rather than cash, and use pretax contributions to IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-sheltered retirement accounts to reduce your adjusted gross income.

Barrons.com recently caught up with Lewis to discuss these and other ways to cut your tax bill.

Barrons.com: When devising a tax strategy, what’s the first step?

Author: Johanna Bennett
Published in: Barron's
Published Date: Dec 15th 2015
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