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Don't leave tax breaks on the table

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If someone told you there’s a way for you to potentially save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on your income taxes by simply spending a few minutes reviewing your benefits and tax paperwork, would you think it sounds like a late-night TV marketing scam? It’s not.
You’ve still got a couple of months to tweak your employer-provided benefits and line up a few tax deductions that’ll have you smiling next April 15.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
• 401(k) plan. If you haven’t already maxed out on contributions for 2013, ask your employer if you can increase contributions to your 401(k) plan for the remainder of the year. Most people can contribute up to $17,500 in 2013, plus an additional $5,500 if they’re over 50.
If you contribute on a pretax basis, your taxable income is reduced, which in turn lowers your taxes. If you contribute using after-tax dollars, you’ll pay tax on the amount now, but the entire account value, including interest earned over the years, will be non-taxable when you retire. Either way, if your employer offers matching contributions (essentially, free money), you should contribute at least enough to take full advantage of the match.


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