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Community Outreach
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Plan to Save on Next Year’s Taxes Now

Winston Churchill, former U.K. Prime Minister, once said, “There is no such thing as a good tax.” Whether you agree with him or not, it is probably safe to say that you’d like to minimize the amount of taxes you pay—in any form—if at all possible. While it’s too late to make changes that will reduce the amount of income tax you’re going to pay on earnings from 2014, you can begin taking steps now that will minimize your 2015 tax burden.

If you’re self-employed (even on the side), open an SEP IRA or individual 401(k). Both of these retirement investment products are tax deferred like their traditional counterparts. Open one and you can contribute up to 25 percent of your self-employment income (to a max of $52,000) each year. Regardless of your current tax bracket, this can result in significant savings on your federal and state income taxes.

Look into tax-loss harvesting.

While decidedly complicated, tax-loss harvesting can reduce your tax bill. It requires selling losing stocks and then using your losses to offset other investment gains or up to $3,000 of your regular income. If you have any stock-based investments, it may make sense to speak to your financial advisor about the savings possibilities this practice offers.

Donate stocks rather than cash.

Many Americans give to charity and reap income tax reductions as a result. However, donating appreciated stock rather than cold, hard cash can make a difference in the amount you save. Not only can it help to minimize the amount of capital gains tax you have to pay in a given year, you may also get a deduction for the full market price of your donated stock.

Claim your parents as dependents.

If they rely on you for more than half of their income, you may be able to claim your parents as dependents—even if they don’t live in your home. Should your situation meet the qualifications, you can score an extra personal exemption and count their healthcare costs when determining the deductibility of medical bills. If you’ve hired someone—like a home health aide—to help with care, you might qualify for a dependent care credit as well.

Max out those 401(k) contributions.

If you happen to be over the age of 50, the law allows you to contribute $5,500 over the regular limit (of $17,500) to your retirement account every year. This means you can sock away as much as $23,000 tax-deferred if your income and budget allow you to do so.

Consider a Health Savings Account.

If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you can open a HSA and save up to $3,300 per person—or $6,550 per family—each year for use towards future out-of-pocket healthcare costs. If you happen to be over the age of 55, you can contribute an additional $1,000 over those limits. Not only do you make these contributions with pre-tax dollars, but you also don’t have to use them before the end of the year. This means your money will continue to grow tax-free until you need it.

If you’d like more information on steps you can take to minimize your annual tax burden, we’re here to help. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call any time you need financial guidance.