One opportunity available every year is timing the gains and losses in your investment portfolio.
For example, if your income is close to the $200,000 Obamacare threshold or the higher figure for the top tax bracket, consider waiting until next year to sell positions that will push you over the threshold. There is market risk to the strategy, but it's worth considering.
Harvesting tax losses on investments is another option. While there haven't been a lot of opportunities on that front in the last several years, the recent uptick in volatility in the stock market and turmoil in the energy sector specifically presents some chances.
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"It's been hard to find losses over the last several years, but the recent pop in volatility has allowed us to capture some losses," Heitman said. Investors can offset capital gains with losses and up to $3,000 in ordinary income as well.
Other timing opportunities for taxpayers, depending on their expectations for income this year versus future years, include accelerating an interest payment on a mortgage or paying real estate taxes for the first quarter of 2016 in December.
"If you're expecting higher income this year [versus next], accelerate your January interest payment into this year," said David Plotts, director of financial planning at Glenmede.