Double Check Before Filing 2021 Tax - Don't Leave Money on the Table

You have heard the saying the only two constant things in life are death and taxes. Tax time is here, and while you have until April 19, 2022, to file 2021 tax returns, don't wait too long to start putting it together. Take advantage of available deductions, including Long-Term Care Insurance.

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Double Check Before Filing 2021 Tax - Don't Leave Money on the Table
5 Min Read March 18th, 2021 Updated:March 9th, 2022

Everyone loves taxes, right? Well, maybe not. For 2021 tax returns, the April deadline is coming up. Usually, April 15th is the due day, but April 15th this year falls on a local holiday, Emancipation Day, which is celebrated in Washington, D.C., causing all businesses and government offices to close. 

Because of the holiday, the tax filing deadline for the 2021 personal tax return—Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR—is Monday, April 18, 2022 (April 19 if you live in Maine or Massachusetts).

No one really likes filing their taxes. Unless you are a certified public accountant—and a notably zealous one at that—filling out paperwork and poring over records and receipts is no way to spend a spring Saturday. 

Typically, filing your taxes would be another annual and arduous rite of passage. Still, on the heels of the most challenging year most of us have ever had, putting a bow on the fiscal year and possibly clawing back some of what you set aside over the year could feel even better than an early-April walk in the park.

Don't get too excited to file just yet. Before you get started, take a few extra steps to get the most out of filing. It may mean a little more paperwork, but that paperwork should pay off—if not this year, certainly down the road. Let's look at what to do before you file your taxes.

Make Your IRA Contributions

Tax-deferred contributions to your individual retirement account are some of the finest tax breaks around. Don't forget to take advantage. By investing in your future, you can reduce your taxable income for this year while putting that money to work in the stock market, bond market, and beyond. 

Eligible taxpayers generally can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA for 2021 (for those 50 years old or older, the limit is $7,000). When you do this before you file, it could mean significant savings on your tax bill. 

Meanwhile, that contribution, well-invested, can accrue interest over the years, meaning that you will still come out ahead when it's time to pay taxes on withdrawals.

Remember, if you were 50 or older by the end of 2021, you are allowed to contribute an additional $1,000 to your IRA. The extra tax benefit is known as the 'catch-up contribution.' As you get closer to retirement, you can add more to your retirement plan to, perhaps, catch-up with contributions you could not do in the past. With this perk, you can add a total of $7000 for the 2021 tax year.

The deadline for a 2021 IRA contribution is April 18, 2022. For planning purposes, keep in mind that the IRA regular contribution ($6,000) and 50-plus catch-up contribution ($1,000) limits remain the same for 2022, except limits for 2022 are based on your annual income. 

You should also be planning for 2022. If your employer offers a 401(k), you can contribute additional money to that program if you are over age 50. The contribution limit for 401(k) plans is $20,500 in 2022. Those 50 or older can chip in an additional $6,500 in 2022 for a total contribution of $27,000. Remember, when you contribute money in these accounts, you lower your taxable income by the same amount - reducing your taxable income.

Don't forget your Health Savings Account. You cannot impact 2021 now, but you can add additional money to an HSA. You can use money in the HSA to pay for health-related expenses, including deductibles and Long-Term Care Insurance premiums. Like the 401(k), contributions will lower your taxable income for the year. 

Remember, the money in an IRA, 401(k), and HSA grows tax-deferred and is an excellent tool to secure a successful future retirement. Remember, you will have to pay taxes on this money at some point - but as income when you take money out of the account.

Gather All Your Receipts

When it comes to securing deductions, don't leave money on the table—or, more accurately, in all the places old receipts turn up. Medical expenses and charitable donations—whether those donations are cash or merchandise—are tax-deductible. Proper documentation of these expenses can ease your tax burden for 2021, a year that has asked for the easing of burdens like few others before it.

Explore the Property Tax Deduction

You may believe that the generous break of up to $10,000 is limited to homeowners. Not so—this deduction is available for other forms of taxable ownership as well. Vehicles, boats, and even apartments that belong to a co-op are eligible. Ascertaining that you can make this claim is a big part of what to do before filing your taxes this year. If you've kept immaculate records, you should be able to find the necessary paperwork to claim what could be a crucial deduction on your tax bill.

Bigger Standard Deduction for Those Age 65 and Older

The standard deduction reduces your taxable income. As you get older, the standard deduction gets better. For married couples under age 65, the standard deduction is $25,100 for the tax year 2021. 

For single individuals under age 65 and those who are married filing separately, the standard deduction is $12,550. Heads of household get $18,800.

See all the available deductions - 2021 Federal Income Tax Rates, Brackets, & Standard Deduction Amounts | IRS.com 

One of the drawbacks of the higher standard deductions is it sets a very high bar for itemizing deductions. For some taxpayers, the higher standard deduction will mean no itemized deductions. 

Simplified Tax Form Available for Seniors

If you are aged 65 and over and don't have a complicated financial situation, you could use the new simplified Form 1040-SR for seniors. The form is just two pages and includes a larger type and bigger text boxes.

Seniors who are still employed can very easily report their wages, salaries, and tips on this form. It also includes a handy chart showing the bigger standard deductions available for anyone aged 65 and older.

LTC Insurance Tax Benefits

Don't forget the premium for your Long-Term Care Insurance policy has tax benefits and can be included as one of your medical deductions if you do itemize. However, you cannot take both an itemized deduction and use pre-tax money from a Health Savings Account to pay for the premium. The premium can also be a business deduction if you have self-employment income. However, you use only one of those options.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Being prepared for future declining health and aging is vital to your retirement planning. People need long-term health care due to illnesses, accidents, or the consequences of aging. The costs of long-term health care services are rising at an alarming rate due to increasing demand and high labor costs.

Part of the problem is health insurance and Medicare, including supplements, will not pay for most of these long-term care costs. While Medicaid will pay for long-term health care, you must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits.

There are only a few solutions. You could depend on family caregivers (often a daughter or daughter-in-law), spend your income and savings on professional care, or add an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan.

LTC Insurance gives you guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access to your choice of quality care services, including in-home care. Plus, most policies include professional case management to help your family develop a plan of care and find quality care providers.

Long-term care costs are expensive, and family caregivers face physical and emotional burdens. LTC Insurance is an easy and affordable solution but don't delay since policies are medically underwritten. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s.

Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS

You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

Start by reading our four guides -  

If they are lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work, free with no obligation. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Share Your Knowledge - Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS 

LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

Your Marketing and Advertising Partner – LTC NEWS

Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Shared Links

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

 

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