Broker Check

Tax Return Checklist

Creating a Tax Strategy

As part of advice-based comprehensive financial planning, it is essential to consider the tax consequences of various solutions. A potential tax reduction opportunity for a client is mapping out Roth conversions, and whether or not the client should consider one. Of course, these  tax reduction strategies depend on the client’s goals, age, size of their pretax retirement account balance, and tax bracket.


Additionally, tax laws in flux make having conversations related to a client’s tax strategy more critical than ever. With these ever-changing tax laws, it is crucial to know where the clients stand regarding taxable income, their tax brackets, and how the proposed laws may affect them. 

Please contact me to discuss further.

Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

Twelve Point Tax Return Review Checklist

Marginal Tax Rate

The marginal tax rate is the tax rate paid on the next dollar of income, so it gives me an idea on which tax bracket you are in, and it assists us in tax planning, such as whether you should take an IRA distribution in a “low income year.”

Average Tax Rate

The average tax rate is arrived by dividing the total tax paid by total income. This helps me to better understand your overall tax picture.

Carry Forward Losses

Carry forward losses moves your capital losses (from a sale of stock) to a future year to reduce future tax liabilities. This can provide great planning opportunity.

IRMAA Surcharges

Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) is the extra surcharge based on income and added to your Medicare premiums. These additional charges can be unexpected, and we look to decrease income (where possible) and otherwise plan around them.

Capital Gains

Long-term capital gains are taxed at a more preferential rate than your ordinary income, which is helpful when selling stocks..

Qualified Dividends

Qualified dividends are dividends that are taxed at capital gains rates as opposed to your ordinary income rate, which is generally higher. The higher the percentage of qualified dividends to total dividends, the more tax-efficient your portfolio is.

Roth Conversion Opportunities

Considering a Roth conversion to guarantee tax-free and RMD-free income in retirement. I use industry-leading technology to find the optimal Roth conversion amount that would allow you to build your Roth balances and fill your current marginal tax bracket “bucket”.

Itemized Deduction vs. Standard Deduction

You taking the Standard Deduction when taking an Itemized Deduction could have been more beneficial for you. We consider tax planning strategies, and we look to make sure Itemized Deductions are taken when appropriate.

Net Investment Income Tax

The additional Net Investment Income tax is for single individuals who have MAGI above $200,000 and married taxpayers who have MAGI above $250,000. The income over the limit is taxed at 3.8% and is often a surprise to higher income clients.

Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 includes a 20% tax deduction for pass-through businesses (subject to several requirements). All small business owners should be aware of this tax savings opportunity.


There are fifty (50) tax credits that are available. But they are subject to a variety of income phaseouts. I believe you should take advantage of all available tax credits and that you should know whether you are in a phaseout range so we can plan accordingly.

Review of Credits and Deductions

I believe you should be aware of your income as well as all the tax deductions and tax credits you can claim.

Have a Question?

Thank you!