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The Tax Man Giveth and the Tax Man Taketh Away

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It’s that glorious time of year again: Tax Time!

At this point, the tax damage is done. There’s not a lot you can do…BUT did you know that the best time to start planning for your taxes isn’t in December? It is now.

If you find yourself in either of these scenarios, here are some actions you can take:

If you are getting a refund from the IRS

Number one, call your HR Department to adjust your W-4 form and raise the allowances you are claiming. This will increase the amount you get on your paycheck (after they get done taxing it).

Number two, raise the amount you are saving into your 401k. Once you do this, your after-tax paycheck will likely go back down to what it “used to be.” You may have to fiddle with the W-4 allowances and 401k savings rate to get the numbers to shake-out. Once you’ve done this, you will save more money into your 401k, pay less in taxes, and your after-tax paycheck should still be about the same! Boom! Painless saving. Granted, you’ll stop getting a refund each year (which is nothing more than an interest-free loan to the government,) but your future retirement thanks you in advance!

If you owe money to the IRS

You have some options as well. By simply raising your 401k savings, you’ll reduce your overall taxable income. This alone might be enough to help you out. If it’s not, you should look at lowering your W-4 allowances.

Both of these options involve saving more money into your 401k, and some of you might wonder what a 1% difference in 401k savings can make over 25 years. Well, take a look for yourself:

If a 25-year-old with a $40,000 salary can save an additional $33 a month (1% annually), that little bit of extra savings could translate into an additional $320 of monthly income-in 2015 dollars-over a 25-year retirement. (This assumes our 25-year-old earns a paltry 1.5% annual raise, net of inflation, works until she is 67, and earns a 7% annual return.)

$33 a month! (that wasn’t a typo)

We can all squeeze out an extra $33 a month, and you can probably do it with dollars you’d otherwise give to Uncle Sam via taxes.

So get to it! Save more money and we’ll continue to make sure it’s invested correctly!

The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice. Blooom does not provide tax advice. Consult a tax expert for tax-specific questions.

Published on April 15, 2015