How Can You Maximize Tax Savings? The 2021/2022 Tax Planning Guide Can Answer Your Questions
Tax Law Uncertainty Complicates Timing Strategies
Determining the right timing strategies in 2021 is especially challenging because changes that might be signed into law later this year could affect the tax rate you pay on both ordinary income and investment income - probably not for 2021 but potentially for 2022, which would impact 2021 planning.
Proposals Have Included:
Increasing the top ordinary income tax rate from 37% back to 39.6% (the pre-TCJA top rate)
Increasing the long-term capital gains and qualified dividend rate from 20% to 39.6% for taxpayers with income of more than $1 million
Broadening the NIIT and payroll taxes to apply to more types of income of higher-income taxpayers
How Can You Maximize Tax Savings This Year?
The tax strategies that can save you the most will depend on your particular situation. For example, if you’re a parent, a tax-advantaged education savings plan may be a smart move. Or if you’re married, a credit shelter trust might save your family estate taxes.
Here are Five More Key Tax Savers for Different Types of Taxpayers:
1. Investors: Review After-Tax Returns to Evaluate the Performance of Investments
The impact of taxes in a given year may not be significant. But over time, compounding can have a huge impact on a portfolio’s growth. For example, the difference between a $100,000 portfolio growing after tax at 8% vs. 6% a year amounts to almost $150,000 over 20 years.
2. Business Owners: Watch Out For Buy-Sell Agreement Tax Pitfalls
Buy-sell agreements control what happens to a business when a specified event occurs such as an owner’s death or disability. Often such agreements are funded with life insurance and proceeds are generally excluded from the beneficiary’s taxable income. But an exception is the transfer-for-value rule, under which proceeds will be taxable if an existing policy was acquired “for value” by someone other than the insured or certain other parties. The issue often arises when structuring or changing a buy-sell agreement using existing insurance policies.
3. Donors: Time Donations to Save More Tax
By considering current and future income tax rates before giving, you can significantly increase the tax benefit of your charitable gifts. Deductions are more powerful when you’re taxed at a higher rate. So if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket next year, you could save more tax by deferring a charitable contribution until 2022. On the other hand, if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket next year, you might benefit from accelerating charitable contributions into 2021.
4. Retirees: Choose Your Source of Retirement Cash Wisely
Generally, it’s best to use money from your taxable accounts first and let your retirement plan assets grow tax-deferred as long as possible. Also, remember that you may benefit from the long-term capital gains rate when you sell assets in taxable accounts, but you’ll be taxed at your higher, ordinary-income rate when you take distributions from traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. So you may want to take retirement plan distributions in years when you’re in a lower income tax bracket. If you must take the required minimum distributions, make sure you follow the rules so you avoid penalties.
5. All Taxpayers: Check With Us Before You Take Action
The 2021/2022 Tax Planning Guide presents many other ways to minimize your taxes for 2021 and beyond. Read it and note those sections that seem especially relevant to your situation. Then contact us to see which of these strategies are best for you.
Holly is a Senior Manager with SVA Certified Public Accountants and specializes in individual taxation with a focus on proactive tax planning and developing strategies to minimize current and future tax liabilities.