4 ways to reduce next year's tax bill

OK, we heard ya. Many of you were shocked to see not only that you owed taxes this year, but that you owed a lot. Full dislcosure: Me too. Let's fix that.

I sat down with Lisa Brown, a money expert and partner at Brightworth. She said that was the number one conversation she was having in the office leading up to April 15th, 'Why do I owe so much?!?'  She has four ways to avert a 2019 repeat. Let's get started with Number 1.

"Go to your HR department, your employer and update your Form W4. That's your tax withholding form to have a little bit more taken out of your paycheck each month and that will reduce the amount that you owe when you do your return next year," she advised.

As a married couple, she said you can also check a box that says "married but withhold at the higher Single rate" and that will have more tax withheld from both of your paychecks. Or, you can claim zero exemptions. It'll be trial and error. Wait for your check and see if it's too little or too much.

Number 2: Do you get a bonus? Make sure you take out enough to cover the tax on it. Often times, your employers don't take out as much as is needed.
Number 3: Commit more to your 401k.  You can put that bonus in there. That's a win-win.          Number 4: Contribute more to your 529 college education plan. College costs are going up starting in the fall, so save more for college and get a tax break.

"In Georgia, you open a 529 college savings plan. Georgia allows you to take a tax deduction on your Georgia income tax return for some of the amount you put into that 529 plan. If you're married, you can deduct the first $4,000 per child," Ms. Brown said.

So get to it. I know I am.