Tax Smarts

shj011017_tax_smarts_blog_image-2As we settle into the new year and resolutions roll around once again, there’s a good chance that “figure out my finances” makes its way back to the top of the list. Something that you could consider doing differently this year is proactive tax planning instead of reactive tax planning. Here are four ways you could get ahead of your taxes in 2017:

1. Take the Surprise Out of Taxes
If you have a close estimate of the income you will receive in 2017, print a two-page 1040 form and start working through a very basic tax calculation. You can print other forms as needed depending on the complexity of your tax return. Estimate income and deductions to the best of your ability. Compare the estimated Federal tax liability with your current Federal withholding to determine if you are over- or under-withholding, and make proactive adjustments at the beginning of the year. We suggest the same exercise with your state tax forms. Note: Although the 2017 1040 is not yet available, the 2016 1040 will give you a useable guideline.
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Retirement Plans for Small Businesses

shj_small_business_retirement_plans_blog_imageSmall business owners have several options for choosing the right retirement plan. When deciding which plan is best, factors you should consider are how many employees you have and how are they paid? How much do you want to contribute to the plan for yourself or your partners, as business owners, as well as for your employees? Do you want to use the plan to attract future employees or for its tax advantages? Three retirement plans to consider are a SEP IRA, Simple IRA, and 401(k). Continue reading

Retirement Savings 101: 401(k)s, IRAs, Roths, Oh my!

Retirement golden eggs on dollars, IRA in focus, 401k blurryOver the past two weeks we have compared Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs and 401(k)s to Roth 401(k)s. Today we wrap up the series with a recap comparison to help guide you through the various ways to save for your retirement.

Traditional IRA

Established by: Individual
Contribution Limits: Up to $5,500 per year age 49 or below / $6,500 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Pre-tax (unless non-deductible, then post-tax)
Matching Contributions: None
Distributions: Taxable and a 10% penalty unless 59 ½ or older (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½
Conversions/Rollovers: Can be converted to Roth IRA. Taxes paid during year of conversion. Deductible contributions can be rolled into a 401(k) if allowed by 401(k) plan.

Roth IRA

Established by: Individual
Contribution Limits: Up to $5,500 per year age 49 or below / $6,500 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Post-tax
Matching Contributions: None
Distributions: Contributions may always be withdrawn tax and penalty free. Earnings prior to age 59 ½ are taxable and assessed a 10% penalty. Earnings after 59 ½ are tax-free unless the Roth IRA has been open less than 5 years in which case they are taxable and assessed a 10% penalty. (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: None
Conversions/Rollovers: None

Traditional 401(k)

Established by: Employer
Contribution Limits: Employee may contribute up to $18,000 per year age 49 or below / $24,000 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Pre-tax
Matching Contributions: Employer’s discretion
Distributions: Taxable and a 10% penalty unless
· If separated from service after age 55 or
· age 59 ½ or older (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½ unless still employed and not a 5% owner
Conversions/Rollovers: Upon termination of employment may
· Rollover to an IRA – not currently taxable
· Rollover to 401(k) if allowed by new employer – not currently taxable
· Convert to a Roth IRA – taxable event
· Distributed directly to owner – taxable event.

Roth 401(k)

Established by: Employer
Contribution Limits: Employee may contribute up to $18,000 per year age 49 or below / $24,000 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Post-tax
Matching Contributions: Employer’s discretion (employer contributions are pre-tax dollars)
Distributions: Tax-free, but a 10% penalty plus taxes on earnings unless
· If separated from service after age 55 or
· age 59 ½ or older and the account has been open for at least 5 years (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½ unless still employed and not a 5% owner.
Conversions/Rollovers: Upon termination of employment may
· Rollover to a Roth IRA
· Rollover to a Roth 401(k) if allowed by new employer.

Which retirement savings account is right for you? For some, a 401(k) plus a Roth IRA may be the way to go. For others it might be a traditional IRA with a 401(k). Retirement saving decisions are as unique as you are.

As with any big financial decision, we recommend talking to a professional. Financial planners can help guide you to the best decision for your retirement and create a custom plan tailored to your individual goals.

If you are interested in a complimentary consultation, give us a call today at 303.639.5100 or visit shwj.com.

*Research for this post done on IRS.gov

Retirement Savings 101: What’s the Difference between a Roth 401(k) and a Traditional 401(k)?

Retirement golden eggs on dollars, IRA in focus, 401k blurryDid you know many employers offer a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)? Learn the difference between the two to see what’s right for you.

Last week we covered the difference between Roth and Traditional IRAs. This week we look at the differences between Roth and Traditional 401(k)s.

Let’s start by defining the 401(k)…

401(k)s are retirement savings plans sponsored by an employer. Employees can defer all or part of their paycheck to the plan, as long as you are within the IRS limits. You can think of it as a deferred salary. Many companies will also match contributions to the plan. Continue reading

Retirement Savings 101: What’s The Difference Between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA?

Saving plan with Gold Piggy bankThe world of retirement savings can be confusing. Which option is best to help you move towards your goals? What is the difference between all of the retirement savings options? Over the next few weeks, we try to clear the muddy waters and help you gain an understanding of what retirement savings plan might be best for you.

Today we start with IRAs…

IRAs, Individual Retirement Accounts, are popular tools to save for retirement. The type of IRA you select can affect your long-term savings. It’s important to understand the various types of accounts to select the best one for you.

The main difference in Traditional and Roth IRAs comes down to when you pay income taxes. For Traditional IRAs, you pay taxes when you withdraw money in retirement. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the front end, but no taxes when you withdraw.

Let’s start by looking at a Traditional IRA…

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