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Financial end-of-the-year checklist

Secure your return with charitable...

AMMON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The end of the year is almost here and there are financial moves you should consider before Dec. 31. KIFI/KIDK spoke to local financial advisors and talked about a financial check list to guide you through your end-of-the-year financial plans.

"The four things that everyone needs to consider would be number one, hit your limit. Two, secure your return. Three, finalize your moves. And then four, update your strategy for the year," said financial advisor Jordan Anderson.

Some types of saving savings accounts, like a 401(k), have a maximum amount that can be contributed per year. That will help you save more for retirement while reducing your taxable income at the same time. Now is also a good time to review current plans and make updates to start the new year on the right foot.

"All things that are worthwhile require some work and some maintenance. Finances are no different. It does take a little bit of study and a little bit of time -- not a lot -- just to review things and to make sure that you are still on the right path. Check your returns. Check your deductions," said financial advisor Jennifer Landon.

Get the most bang for your buck with your tax return with charitable donations, savings contributions or monetary gifts. They are all included as tax write-offs.

"It's Christmas time, so what are the charities that are meaningful to you? How can you support those causes? And it's also a really good time to do that, because then you get a nice write-off when it comes to tax time," Landon said.

"If you wanted to donate to a charity, even local charities here are able to give you receipts offering you actually tangible items to add to your filling," Anderson said.

And that works well, because December is nonprofit month. Help a nonprofit with a gift, and have it help you with a tax write-off.

"Having December be a time of giving and a lot of people have these types of things on their mind, it also coincides with planning purposes, to try and keep your tax bill low as well," Landon said.

Charitable donations can be made in cash, with stocks, or with a non-cash donation of such items as clothes and furniture.

"Dec. 31 and this year-end will be coming so quickly that it can really throw a tailspin into your plans if you don't have your finances in order," Anderson said.

Again, all contributions must be made by Dec. 31 to count for the 2016 tax year, and you must keep accurate records.

The IRS is urging taxpayers to protect themselves when filing thier taxes online to fight against identity theft.

  • Understand and use security software. Firewalls, virus/malware protection and file encryption can all help protect computers against digital threats.
  • Look for the "s" in "https" at the beginning of the web address. The "s" means it's a secure site.
  • Use strong passwords of eight or more characters. Mix letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Use secure wireless networks and be careful when using public Wi-Fi, especially when putting tax information on websites.
  • Avoid email phishing attempts. Never reply to emails, texts or pop-up messages asking for your personal, tax or financial information.

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