The end of year may come as a big relief, or maybe it leads to greater anxiety considering the current size of your task list. Either way, time is often at a premium as the year wraps up.
Here is a list of action items that you want to be sure to “check-off” as you close out the year.
Required Minimum Distributions from IRA accounts: No doubt you know RMDs must be processed before Dec. 31, but are you taking advantage of all the tools that help you complete this work efficiently?
Right now, you should have quick access to reports that detail the remaining RMD work required, whether available through your custodian or your reporting system. In addition, you should be able to tell if a client withdrew more money than required for meeting the RMD.
Better to know this in December when you can potentially make other adjustments versus when the client is filling their 2018 taxes.
Calendar Driven Account Types: A number of other qualified account actions must be completed by year end. Definitely at the top of this list includes the establishment of qualified retirement plans (Individual/Solo 401k, etc.) and the completion of Roth Conversions.
Perhaps you recommended these action items to some of your clients earlier in year. Double-check your records (hopefully recorded in your Customer Relationship Management program), and make sure that nothing was overlooked.
Charitable Donations: What options are available to clients who want to donate securities to a charitable organization?
Part of this process is knowing which securities have the greatest gains, which should be a report that is regularly reviewed and is easily accessible. Frequently, gifted securities are transferred or journaled to the account of the charitable organization.
Also, you could use a donor- advised type of account to address your client’s charitable gifting, which should be set up and the securities gifted to the account prior to the end of the year.