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Tax planning checklist

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT
revised 7/7/2014

Are you paying the lowest tax allowed under the law? Probably not, according to most tax specialists. Use this checklist to help develop some ideas for further exploration and discussion. (The checklist is typically used as part of the second step of three steps in the tax planning process).


_  Structure legal settlements as non-taxable

_  Structure insurance settlements as non-taxable

_  Straddle the tax year

_  Tax-free interest

_  Divorce & separation agreements

_  Recoup basis on retirement annuities

_  Maximize gift income


_  Defer taxes

_  Accelerate expenses

_  Defer income


_  Shift Schedule E expenses to Schedule C

_  Shift Schedule C income to Schedule E

Investment Income:

_  Shift investment income to children

_  Maximize tax-free income in life insurance policy

_  Interest-free Loans

Retirement Plan:

_  employer sponsored plan

_  IRA

Miscellaneous Schedule A Deductions:

_  Interest

_  Medical expenses

_  Taxes

_  Contributions

_  Losses

_  Employee expenses


_  Deduct medical insurance

_  Deduct disability insurance

_  Deduct life insurance

_  Deduct long term care insurance

_  Health savings accounts

Tax-Free Benefits:

_  Hospitalization premiums

_  Group life insurance premiums

_  Group legal services premiums

_  Accident and health plans

_  Employee death benefits

_  Merchandise distributed to employees

_  Meals & lodging

_  Employee discounts

_  Workers compensation

_  Cafeteria benefit plans

_  Dependent care assistance plans

_  Employer educational assistance

_  Employee awards

_  Miscellaneous fringe benefits

_  Scholarships and fellowships

_  Gifts, bequests, inheritances

Traditional Tax Shelters:

_  Real estate

_  Real estate partnerships

_  Oil & gas

_  Equipment leasing

_  Single premium life insurance

Innovative Shelters:

_  Family partnerships

_  Family trusts

_  Gift-leaseback

_  Employing family members

_  Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations


_  Earned income credit

_  Credit for health insurance to children

_  Adoption assistance

_  Targeted jobs credit

_  Credit for the elderly or disabled

_  Mortgage credit certificates

_  Child & dependent care credit


Related resources

Top ten tax planning strategies

Tax and financial planning data organizer


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Opinions expressed are the solely those of the author and do not represent the position of any other person, company or entity mentioned in the article. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues or a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. Tony Novak operates as an independent adviser under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator" but is not a representative, agent, broker, producer or navigator for any securities broker dealer firm, federal or state health insurance marketplace or qualified health plan carrier. He has no financial position in any stocks mentioned. Novak does work as an accountant, agent, adviser, writer, consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to other companies including the companies listed in the articles on this web site.   |  (800) 609-0683  |  Cell/Text: 856-723-0294  |