By: Jordan Niefeld, CPA,CFP®

With April 15th fast approaching, all taxpayers should keep a few things in mind with trying to minimize what they owe to Uncle Sam.

Always Always Always double check your information distributed to a tax preparer, imputed into software or a printed form. It may seem like common sense but the reality is, any type of unintentional error can cause major delays with the IRS and delay any potential refund. At worse it may even trigger a full blown audit if the IRS computers pick up something that is really off. So, double check the following:

  • Wrong SSN inputted for individual or dependents
  • Review all cost basis of investments sold
  • Real estate taxes paid (don’t estimate these and must pay in year tax due to claim deduction)
  • Check all math calculations (This was the most common mistake according to the IRS in 2012 – simple tax miscalculations)

Other important areas to consider include (but are not limited to):

· Reduce your taxable income by making contributions (right up until the April 15 filing deadline) to tax advantaged accounts like a health savings account, traditional IRA or SEP IRA if you have self-employment income. If you belong to a qualified 401(k) plan with your employer, review your monthly cash flow needs and top off your savings by electing the maximum employer matching (usually if the employee puts in 5% the employer will match up to 4% in total).

· Review the income limitations for breaks such as deductible IRA contributions, which rise annually. Depending on how your tax situation has changed, you might be eligible now even if you weren’t before.

· If you looked for a new job last year, add up the cost of creating resumes, employment agency fees and travel expenses for interviews for jobs in your current of line of work as these expenses may be tax deductible if you itemize.

· If you work out of your home, rather than laboriously itemizing for your home office deduction, use the simplified option of calculating five dollars for every square foot of your home you use as your office, up to 300 square feet for a maximum deduction of $1,500. Beware because the IRS pays special close attention to individuals who claim this deduction (possible audit)

· File your taxes electronically. It’s the safest, easiest and fastest way to file your taxes, and you will get your refund quicker if you request direct deposit.

Also note that the IRS will NEVER contact any taxpayer by email. Therefore, if you get an email for the IRS, tread cautiously! You can pass that email along to the IRS at

Above all else it is important to work with a professional who can advise with these manners. Consult with your tax preparer and also take a meeting or phone call with your financial advisor or Certified Financial  Planner™ who is experienced with a more comprehensive outlook on all your financials holdings. This will be the best strategy in obtaining what we all want this year and next, tax minimization.


Jordan Niefeld, CPA, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™ and CPA at Raymond James & Associates in Aventura, Florida. He has over 8 years of tax experience and services his clients with a broad comprehensive strategy to allow them to pursue their life goals and dreams in the most tax efficient manner.