Important Tax Tips for 2015

2015 Year End Tax Planning

As the end of the year draws near, it is important to try to make intelligent financial decisions that put you at a tax advantage. Thoughtful foresight can reduce tax burdens and make the most of your charitable giving. High income earners should keep the following tax tips handy:

 

December 31st

Beyond the typical filing dates such as April 15th, June 15th, and Sept 15, December 31st stands as an important date to complete and finalize additional tasks:

  • Completing charitable gifts and others for the year (consider appreciated securities)
  • Selling listed options, stocks or mutual funds for a realized loss to offset gains
  • Completing contributions to 529 plans or (in unique situations) conversions to a Roth IRA
  • Selling shares related to Incentive Stock Options to reduce alternative minimum tax exposure

Manage Your Income

Income is taxed based upon the year received. For those anticipating being in the same or a lower tax bracket the following year, it would be good strategy to defer income. Deferral of capital gains or utilization of an installment method for recognition are practical options. For those in the opposite situation, it is possible to accelerate income in 2015, paying taxes at the lower rate.

Watch your deductions. They can reduce tax liability but inadvertently initiate an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). For those paying AMT, couples filing jointly pay 26% in taxes for incomes up to $185,400 and 28% for AMT incomes over $185,000. A little reshuffling can make a difference. Under AMT, deductions disallowed include:

  • State income tax
  • Property tax

Charitable giving is still allowed and deducted within the rules that apply to income taxes and AMT.

Review your marketable assets and consider the best place to allocate them within your portfolio.  For high wage earners, some “tax-inefficient” assets might be repositioned into a tax-deferred qualified account or repositioned into “tax-managed” mutual funds within a brokerage account. A 401(k) or IRA can hold dividend paying equities and taxable bonds so that dividends and interest don’t get currently taxed. A brokerage account is also suitable for holding tax-free municipal bonds and funds.

Changes in 2015

Each year brings tax code changes that can impact your estate planning. 2015 was of particular note as the Supreme Court ruling ushered in the legalization of same-sex marriage and attendant tax benefits. The IRA Direct “Rollover” for charitable contributions that allowed those 70 ½ years old and older to transfer amounts not exceeding $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified charity without a charitable deduction or the recognition of income expired in 2014. Pending congressional action could make it applicable again this year.

Review Your Options

Schedule your appointment to review your financial plan as changes happen to any family. Births, deaths, health changes, job changes and educational disbursements should be factored into your long-term planning strategy. Consider calling me to update your portfolio and estate planning needs today at 800-678-1078.

 

 

 

 

The foregoing content reflects the opinions of The Windsor Group, Ltd. and is subject to change at any time without notice.  Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security.  There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove correct.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  Indices are not available for direct investment.  Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns.  All investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal.  There is no guarantee that any investment plan or strategy will be successful.