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End of the year tax tips

The end of the year is fast approaching. Now is the time to plan ahead and do what you can to try and reduce your income tax bill.  Here are two ideas for you to consider.


  1. If possible, pay your property tax bill in December. If your property taxes are not impounded, that means you write the checks yourself. If this is your situation, and you can afford it, consider paying the second installment, normally due in February, before the end of this year. This could increase your deductions for the 2014 tax year.


  1. Pay your January mortgage payment(s) in December for the same reason as above. This can generate an extra month’s worth of interest deduction on your taxes.


You’ll want to check with your tax professional first to see if it is more beneficial to increase your deductions this year versus next. If, for example, you believe you will be in a lower tax bracket next year because of a reduction in income, you may want more tax breaks this year. If this seems backwards, consider that the higher your marginal tax rate, the more beneficial each dollar of deduction is.


This is an important consideration, because by pulling some of your 2015 deductions into 2014, you will be effectively reducing your 2015 deductions by that amount. If you do this again in 2015, you will be roughly breaking even, assuming you will be in the same tax bracket. However, due to the time value of money, I think you’d rather have the tax break THIS year versus next year.



Every year about this time I hear this question. There is a myth out there that home selling activity completely shuts down right before Thanksgiving and picks up again in January. The truth is that homes sell all year round. I’ve had some of my best months in December.


If you aren’t that motivated to sell, you don’t have a deadline to meet, and showing your home during the Holidays is too much of a hassle, go ahead and take your home off the market. However, if you do have to sell your home, and you do have a deadline to meet, then leave it on the market. It certainly isn’t going to sell if you take it off the market!


There are some reasons why the Holidays can be a GOOD time to be on the market. Some people are off of work, so they have time to look. The “lookey-loo” buyers go home, so while you’ll have fewer buyers looking, they’ll be the serious buyers. And your home will look great all decorated, right?


However, given all that, if you aren’t on the market yet, and you have a choice of when to go on, I wouldn’t recommend going on the week before Thanksgiving, or the week prior to Christmas or New Year’s. The buyer activity slows down quite a bit around those times. But keep in mind that there is usually a big spike in inventory right after New Year’s, so you will have more competition if you wait until January.


If you absolutely, positively do not want to move until after the Holidays, that is still not a reason to avoid being on the market now. If you get an offer asking you to move out December 20, you can counter-offer a new date or just refuse the offer altogether.


Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I am chairing the annual Golden Hills Community Church’s FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for Brentwood. We serve a hot meal of turkey, ham, and all the fixin’s. We also try to send everyone home with a bag of food and some clothes. This will be at the Brentwood Vet’s Hall at 757 First St. from 10:30 to 2:00 on Thanksgiving Day. All are welcome to attend.


If you know anyone in the local area that could use a meal that day, but can’t make it physically to the Vet’s Hall, please email me their name, address and phone number at Brian@SharpHomesOnline.com and we’ll get a meal(s) to them Thanksgiving Day.


We are usually blessed with more than enough physical help the day of the event to serve the meals, but we could always use more canned goods and/or clothing. You can drop them off at my office anytime between now and Thanksgiving Day. We are in need of canned food (soup, tuna, veggies, fruits, etc.), non-perishables like noodles, cereal, bread, bottled drinks, etc. We can also use any type of clean, usable clothing, blankets, jackets, etc. New baby diapers in any size are also VERY popular! We are located at 320 Fairview Ave. in Brentwood. If you come by after hours, just drop them off on our porch.


If you will be around on Thanksgiving Day, you could also cook and carve a turkey (or ham) and bring it to the Vet’s Hall in the morning.. Other needs for the day of the event will be pies, sweet potatoes and stuffing. The sweet potatoes and stuffing will need to be cooked and then dropped off Thanksgiving Day in a disposable pan. By the way, a big Thank-You to the Brentwood American Legion Post #202 for all their help and support for this event.

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