I recently got a new job with a salary that puts me in the 25% tax bracket (filing as single). I don't yet qualify for my employer's 401k plan so I can't use that to reduce my pretax income for the year. I still have the 401k from my previous employer and I'm planning on rolling it over into a traditional IRA. If I contribute the maximum amount ($5500?) I still end up a little bit over the income limit for the 15% tax bracket. Other than my IRA contribution, what additional investments or financial moves can I make in order to move myself into a lower tax bracket? If it makes a difference, I'm in my late twenties and am more than willing to put money into another type of retirement account.
It is important to remember that the tax brackets in the U.S. are marginal. This means that the first part of your income is taxed at 10%, the next part at 15%, next at 25%, etc. Therefore, if you find yourself just on the edge of a tax bracket, it really does not make any difference which side of that line you end up falling on.
That having been said, of course, reducing your taxable income reduces your taxes. There are lots of deductions you can take, if you qualify. Depending on what type of health insurance coverage you have, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is a great way to shelter some income from taxes. Charitable contributions are also an easy way to reduce your taxes; you don't really personally benefit from them, but if you'd rather send your money to a good cause than to Uncle Sam, that's an easy way to do it.
Can you make use of an HSA (health savings account) or a medical FSA (flexible spending account)? Depending on your medical coverage, one of these may be available to you.
Buying a house usually does the trick, between property tax and interest, it's not tough to have quite a bit in deductions. Of course, you need to want a house in the first place.
Some employers offer commuter benefits that allow you to pay some commuter costs (trains, parking, bikes, vansharing, etc) with pre-tax money (up to $120ish a month). Employers commonly use companies such as WageWorks to provide this benefit. This would lower your taxable income by over $1000 per year.
Based on your comment that you do not itemize your deductions, I think that's probably the next step for you to consider. Many of the suggestions that we would give require that you itemize.
If you are not familiar with the potential deductions it would probably be worth your while to visit with a local tax professional and discuss your expenses including what changes you could make to minimize your tax bill.
Ultimately becoming eligible for the 401(k) if possible will allow you access to the biggest avenue for reducing tax liability. It sounds like you are already prioritizing and saving for retirement through your IRA, but most earners in the 25% bracket can't put the recommended 15% into savings (with tax advantages) through an IRA.