Taxes are one of the largest expenses you’ll have over your lifetime. By spending a couple of minutes with these tips, you could potentially lower your income tax and save thousands of dollars a year. Here’s how to pay less taxes by making a few big changes.
1. Move to another state
One very effective way to lower your personal income tax is by moving to a new state with a much lower tax than the state you’re currently living in. According to this website calculator, I could save $2,685 per year if I moved back to Dallas from the Denver area.
If you’ve been considering making a move to a new state, see how the rest of the states stack up against your current location here. You can then make an informed decision about where to move to lower your taxes big time.
2. Purchase a home
Purchasing a home solely for the benefits of lowering your income tax is not a wise idea. However, if you’re ready to set down roots and bid your landlord adieu, buying a house offers some great tax benefits, such as:
- Mortgage interest paid on primary residence
- Real estate and property taxes
- Points paid during closing
- Capital gains exclusion on any profit earned after two years of homeownership
With tax deductions for any points paid when buying your home and mortgage interest paid throughout the year, homeowners have access to lots of tax benefits. You must be able to file a Schedule A with your tax return in order to take all of these deductions, but it may reduce your overall tax burden depending on your tax bracket and other factors.
Either way, you’ll be awarded tax savings as a homeowner. Over the long-term, buying a home is often a smarter investment than continuing to pay rent that goes into someone else’s pocket.
3. Invest in a 401k or IRA
Start investing into a 401k or IRA plan as soon as possible, even if it’s only $25 a month. Every bit you save now means you’re that much closer to retiring early — and the best part is that most retirement accounts offer tax benefits as an incentive to help you save for the future.
With a 401k plan (usually offered by your employer) you can defer tax due on money that would normally be in your paycheck. This reduces your tax bill at the end of the year since you’re contributing pre-tax funds to your 401k.
However, it’s important to note that you will pay income taxes on 401k withdrawals when you reach retirement age, at which point you could be in a higher tax bracket. But saving for retirement is rarely a bad idea, and your employer may even offer to match your savings contributions!
You may also qualify for a Saver’s Credit on your tax return — that’s a tax credit made available to individuals who contribute to a qualified retirement plan, including a 401k or IRA. The credit is based on your income and how much you’ve contributed to retirement throughout the year.
With a Roth IRA, you’ll be able to withdraw from the account tax-free in the future — which includes the interest earned on this money, too! You can also take out qualified withdrawals (meaning they’re fee-free) for things like higher education or purchasing your first home, all of which help boost your tax savings at the end of the year.
4. Tally job hunting expenses
Expenses you incurred while on the job search are completely tax deductible. The expenses must be related to your current career field while actively looking for a job, including fees paid to an employment agency, preparing and mailing copies of your resume, and even travel expenses to and from prospective work interviews.
One point to know is that you cannot deduct job-hunting expenses if this is your first job, and the expenses must exceed a certain threshold on your tax return.
5. Give to causes you care about
Giving to charities and nonprofits is a great way to help others and save money in your journey to learn how to pay less taxes. This giving calculator shows the tax savings you could be eligible for based on your donation. This includes cash donations or donations of property, cars, clothing, furniture, and more.
If you’re able to itemize your deductions on a Schedule A, along with any mortgage tax savings and job hunting expenses, you can include all of your donations to charities made throughout the year.
As you learn how to save on taxes with donations, remember to get a receipt from the organization, especially if you contribute more than $250. This will have to be saved with your tax documents at the end of the year.
6. Maximize education tax credits
As a college student, there are multiple higher education credits you could qualify for. Even if you’re no longer enrolled in college you could still get a credit for classes that improve job skills or continuing education to maintain the degree in your current field.
In addition, there’s also a deduction for up to $2,500 for any interest you pay towards your student loans. Wondering how much you can save with the student loan interest deduction? Find out with our deduction eligibility quiz!Start the Quiz
7. Start a freelance business
Becoming a self-employed business owner has some major tax perks, even if you’re not a full-time business. There are scores of tax benefits, including deducting expenses for business-related costs like office supplies, new equipment, internet and cell phone charges, website fees, and membership dues, to name a few.
For any self-employment tax you pay as part of your Social Security and Medicare taxes, you can deduct half of that on the front of your tax return. That’s quite a significant savings, so if you’ve been considering starting a side hustle, this is the perfect excuse to do so.
How to pay less taxes
Hopefully, your tax professional will suggest these tax savings as options and see whether or not you qualify for them. However, it’s important to know how to pay less taxes yourself so you don’t miss out on vital credits or deductions.
Do your due diligence since every deduction you can claim will decrease your taxable income, and every credit you rightfully qualify for will decrease the amount of tax you owe.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|