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How to lower your tax bill

Defer more of your income
Most people with access to a 401(k) don't max out, even though it's the easiest way to cut your taxes. You can put away $17,500 pretax in 2014, plus $5,500 if you're 50 or older. Upping your yearly savings by $5,000 takes $1,400 off your tax bill in the 28% bracket, and if you start in January, you pare only $138 off a biweekly paycheck.
eady stashing the most possible? Families with certain high-deductible health insurance can sock away $6,550 pretax in a health savings account, plus $1,000 more at 55. (Funds not used for medical costs can be withdrawn penalty-free after 65.)

Avoid the new investment tax
That 3.8% investment tax applies to unearned income like interest, dividends, capital gains, and rent, and kicks in for singles whose modified AGI exceeds $200,000 and $250,000 for marrieds filing jointly.
If you'll pass the threshold -- if you earn a lot, say, and expect gains from a home sale -- spread any income you can into next year or beyond.

Keep better records
Write-offs for business expenses, charitable donations, and medical bills require you to have documentation at tax time. Start the year by implementing a system that allows you to record receipts as you go, so you don't miss any. (That's especially key for medical costs, since the threshold for deductibility increased in 2013 from 7.5% of AGI to 10% for those under 65.)
Shoeboxed.com, a free site and app that lets you upload receipts and categorize them. "At tax time you simply copy the folder and deliver it to your tax professional (David M. Green Bookkeeping and Tax Service)

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