‘Tis the season to be merry, but it's also the best time to focus on the taxes you will file in 2018.
By Dorothy Tucker

(CBS) – The clock is ticking: just 19 days left to take steps to rev up your income tax refund.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker has five tips you can’t afford to ignore in this Original Report.

‘Tis the season to be merry, but it’s also the best time to focus on your taxes.

“Most planning should take place prior to the end of the year,” accountant Vivian Funches says.

The moves you make now can mean more money in your pocket when you get your tax refund.

Here are five tips:


1 — Catch up on 401k contributions. That means catching  up on contributions to your employer’s retirement plan. The max contribution is $18,000 or $24,000 if you’re 50 or older. You must catch up by Dec. 31.

“You’re trying to make your taxable income less,” Funches says.


2 — Postpone year-end bonuses to reduce 2017 income. Consider postponing that bonus until after the new year so you don’t have to add it to your 2017 income.


3 — Make your January mortgage payment in December. That way, you get to write off 13 months of interest instead 12.


4 – Pay all or some of your 2018 property taxes in 2017.

“You have a larger deduction by making that payment earlier,” Funches says.


5 — Make charitable contributions. From cash to clothing, it all adds up. And keep in mind it’s not only what you donate, but how you get there that counts.

“If you drove out there and delivered them yourself the mileage for taking them out there is a deduction,” Funches says.


Every break you can take in 2017 matters because changes in the tax code could be coming soon.

One more tip from tax experts: Get all your doctors’ appointments out of the way to boost your medical deductions.

Watch & Listen LIVE