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5 Last-Minute Ideas to Lower Your 2018 Taxes

Accountant sitting at a table with clientsItemizing vs. Taking the Standard DeductionUnder the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), fewer people will be itemizing deductions — and more will be claiming the standard deduction — for the 2018 through 2025 tax years. Why?First, the TCJA almost doubled the standard deduction amounts:Standard Deduction for 2018 and 2019Single filers and married people who file separately:2018 - $12,0002019 - $12,200Heads of households:2018 - $18,0002019 - $18,350Married people who file jointly:2018 - $24,0002019 - $24,400These amounts will be adjusted annually for inflation. If you're 65 or older, you're entitled to slightly higher standard deduction amounts. After 2025, standard deductions are scheduled to return to pre-TCJA levels.Another reason that fewer people will itemize deductions is that the TCJA limits itemized deductions for all categories of state and local taxes to $10,000 combined (or $5,000 if you're married and file separate returns). For people in high-tax states or with sizable income and property tax bills, this limitation can significantly lower itemized deductions for 2018 through 2025.Your tax advisor can help determine whether it makes more sense for you to itemize deductions or take the standard deduction for 2018. For some taxpayers, it may be advantageous to "bunch" itemizable deductions in alternating years and then take the standard deduction in between.It's almost Tax Day! But don't despair; there still may be time to make some moves that will save taxes for your 2018 tax year. Here are five tax-saving ideas to consider.

1. Choose to Deduct State and Local Sales Taxes

2. Claim an Itemized Deduction for Medical Costs

3. Make a Deductible HSA Contribution

4. Make a Deductible IRA Contribution

5. Make Charitable Donations from Your IRA to Replace Taxable RMDs

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