Amid increasing attention on how internal auditors can evolve in their positions, a newly published survey of stakeholders offers some valuable insights on best practices. Not surprisingly, a focus on strategic planning and risk management within auditors’ organizations is key. The survey report by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation and global consultancy Protiviti is based on responses from 1,124 participants in 23 countries.
- f you’re like a majority of Americans, you may be looking for new, creative ways to ease your annual tax burden. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to cut your taxes or increase the amount of your tax refund without incurring the wrath of the IRS.
- Tax credits and allowable deductions come and go as the IRS changes its rules and regulations almost on a yearly basis. However, there are lots of ways to trim your taxes that are likely to remain applicable for a while.
1. Contribute to a 401k or IRA
Your tax due is based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI. The higher your AGI, the more you owe in taxes to the government. Critical word here is “adjusted,” which refers to the fact that you can reduce this all-important total in a coupleof ways – one method is to deposit pre-tax contributions into a 401k or other tax-deductible retirement account, such as an IRA.
The more you contribute to your 401k, the more you can reduce your AGI and the amount you owe in taxes. In 2016, the maximum IRA and 401k contribution limits are 5,500 and $18,000 respectively for anyone 49 years of age and under. Anyone 50 and older can add an additional $1,000 to the IRA limit and an additional $6,000 to the 401k limit.
And while that money are well-preserved in your regular retirement account and hopefully growing every year, you don’t need to pay capital gains tax on it either. You do have to pay income tax on the funds when you withdraw them, but you may be in a lower income tax bracket when you retire, and therefore pay a lower tax rate on the withdrawn funds than you would now.
2. Don’t Pay Off Your Student Loans
It’s often advisable to pay off all kinds of debts as soon as possible so that you don’t have to pay as much interest…
However, if we’re talking about the student loans, the interest you pay actually helps at tax time because you can deduct it from your AGI.
The more you contribute to your 401k, the more you can reduce your AGI and the amount you owe in taxes. In 2016, the maximum IRA and 401k contribution limits are 5,500 and $18,000 respectively for anyone 49 years of age and under.
Pay off your credit card debt by all means, but pay off your student loans last so that you can wring out every possible penny in deductions. Note that there are limits to how much interest you can deduct. Furthermore, your income affects whether you can use this deduction at all. For the 2015 tax year, you can deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest if your modified AGI is $65,000 or less.
If you make more than this, then you may still be able to deduct a part of your student loan interest as long as your modified AGI is less than $80,000. So at that point the deduction ends for you. (Modified AGI is similar to AGI with the addition of certain deductions, such as IRA contributions, qualified tuition expenses, and student loan interest.)