On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax-cut package that fundamentally changes the individual and business tax landscape.
What will the near-term impact be?
On December 20, Congress passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, sending the final version of the GOP tax reform bill to President Trump’s desk today. The legislation alters the Internal Revenue Code to a degree unseen since the 1980s, altering income tax brackets, marginal tax rates, key deductions and exemptions, and the taxation of corporations and pass-through businesses. These are just some of the adjustments.1
With half the year over and tax day a few months behind us, you should be done with taxes this year, right? Not so fast! In six months people will begin filing their 2017 Tax Return with a recurring moan and groan. Now is the time to take your preventative medicine and avoid the pain!
Every election that we can remember there are promises of change to Taxation, most of the time for less tax but always Big Reform is one of the topics that seems to attach itself to every political candidate. Then after the new blood gets into the “Big Chair”, or the old guard settles back down, the budget gets opened and the talks begin, and usually, taxes are added or deductions get eliminated. Many people expected the corporate tax rates to already be 15% from the election rhetoric of late but, no surprise, the changes to cut tax are always way harder to implement than changes to increase tax.
It’s hard to be logical all the time about everything. The most financially successful tax clients we serve at least attempt to force themselves to be logical, for their own benefit. For instance, our parents, as well as a subset of the economy including some popular radio show based advisors like Dave Ramsey say you should pay off your home and have a “free and clear” deed as a goal (they are wrong in most cases by the way). That kind of thinking is emotional thinking, mixed perhaps with some presumptive attitude about what the general populous is capable of. “Well, we know we can’t get people to do what would really be best for them based on pure math and logic because it’s complicated and would require that they educate themselves, so the next best thing we can get them to do is (insert substandard advice here).” If advisors did not decide in advance what people are capable of they would explain the math and the tax code and most people would be better off managing their home mortgage as an asset, and many people would also be better off never paying off a house, but instead building an equal value or even more equity outside their home.Continue reading
With tax season behind us, we have started to reflect on the amount of people that we saw in our office and
some of the stark realities that we discovered while serving the public. Estate planning is not a sexy topic. But that’s why, as we’ve been preparing people’s tax returns this year, we came to realize that because it’s not a sexy topic, it’s almost completely non-existent in our community. How do we know that from doing tax returns? Because estate planning is all about titling. There are many, many options for estate planning, but generally speaking, there are three basic options that most people fall under.
With tax season under full swing and documents from broker/dealers and other investment companies coming out later and later, you can definitely smell the tax “angst” in the air. The amount of pressure that tax offices and their clients seem to be under is palpable.
Why is this all happening and what about this is important to you?
Tax Season is just starting, but the folks that are coming into our offices remind me to remind everyone of a few good housekeeping tips that will make the season easy to deal with from the taxpayer’s perspective, and successful in not overpaying income tax due to lack of having proper documentation of legal deductions.
What do we mean? We often feel a pressure during tax season–an angst if you will–to get taxes done quickly once we’ve decided that it’s time to deal with them. Like when you were a kid and you would hold your breath and eat all your broccoli in two quick bites as a strategy, doing taxes quickly is almost always a bad idea. Hopefully, these tips will make it easy for you to feel calm, cool, and collected, as well as process driven, in how you’ll document your deductions if you haven’t kept great books all year long.
Depends on whom you ask, but not for the people that were in the lower brackets already. Don’t get us wrong, this listing of facts is not a political article and won’t bash or elevate Trump. This is just a listing of the facts and with an action plan from our tax office for you to act on!
For those people with capital gains from sales of stock or from mutual fund distributions, many know that they can offset those gains with a loss, but few actually sit down and do the annual exercise. It is a good idea to meet with a Tax Planner to look at your losses or winnings. By selling those losing assets, you can offset your other investment gains and end up with an equivalent of no capital gains. Many people would rather not sell their under performing assets, because they believe they’re about to “come back” and wouldn’t dare wait the 31-day waiting period to repurchase the same asset as an allowable purchase but there are many legal “workarounds” to that rule. The Market has been and is forecasted to continue to be volatile, you should be meeting and discussing a plan that can be executed on a set number during a Dip or Peak.