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7 Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Executives

As we approach year-end, many executives and professionals will have the opportunity to make some financial decisions that can have a big impact.  Many of these decisions will have tax implications.  Here is a look at a few of these issues and seven strategies that can help. 

The strategies covered in this article: 

  1. Tax Loss Harvesting
  2. Exercising Options
  3. How to Handle Restricted Stock
  4. Tax Bracket Management
  5. Donating Appreciated Securities
  6. Bunching Charitable Donations and Using a Donor-Advised Fund
  7. College 529 Contributions & Gifting

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Company Stock in a 401k?  Consider Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

When leaving a job for whatever reason, one of the biggest decisions you will face is what to do with your 401(k).  If your plan includes shares of your company's stock, NUA is something to consider during this process.

The Basics of NUA:

  • Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) can provide a significant tax break for those holding low-basis employer stock in their retirement plan.
  • There are strict rules that must be followed to take advantage of the NUA option.
  • NUA can provide an additional level of planning flexibility.

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College Planning: The things I have learned helping my two kids find their way

As many of you know, I have two children, one who is in college and the other is on her way.  For the last several years, my mind has been focused on college, hoping that my kids would find their dream school, get accepted and get great scholarships.  I have learned a great deal and had a lot of help from friends who were a few years ahead of me in the process.  I thought passing this information on might be helpful to someone else, so here we go.

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Using an Exchange Fund to Diversify Concentrated Stock Risk

Many executives acquire company stock or stock options as compensation for performance.  The higher level the executive and the longer their tenure, usually the more stock they accumulate.  This type of compensation can be great when a company is successful and grows, however, it can be challenging for the stock recipient when a large portion of their net worth is concentrated in one company.  Sometimes, their future financial well-being is at risk.  And it’s not just executives, any investor who accumulated or inherited large stock positions could be at risk as well.

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Why You Should Consider Using Your IRA RMD for Charitable Gifts

In 2018 and beyond, more taxpayers will claim the standard deduction and lose the tax benefit of any charitable gifts. But if you have reached 70.5 in age and have an IRA, you may be able to preserve the benefit of the charitable deduction even though you no longer itemize your deductions. The planning strategy will be to make gifts directly from your IRA to qualified charities to offset your required minimum distribution (“RMD”).

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Tax Reform Highlights. What You Need to Know.

Voting along party lines, Congress has passed, and President Trump has now signed major tax legislation (“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” or “Act”). At an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion dollars, the legislation delivers deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations, as well as reductions to individual taxes.

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Concentrated Stock - Too Much of a Good Thing? How to Diversify

This article was updated on February 21, 2018 to reflect current tax laws and limits.

There’s an old investment saying, “Concentrated wealth makes people wealthy, but diversified wealth keeps them wealthy.” One of the most common concentrations of wealth people have are large stock holdings in a single company. Publicly traded companies often compensate employees with stock or stock options, especially upper-level executives. Others may have large holdings from investing early in an initial public offering (IPO) or inheriting a large holding. No matter how it was obtained, owning a large stock position creates investment and planning challenges.

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Tax Reform: Process, Policy and Personalities

In late September, the White House and Republican congressional leaders published their guiding principles for reforming the U.S. tax code. This “Unified Framework” provides general direction but is silent on many details. The debate over how to re-size and re-divide the national tax pie has begun.

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Charitable Giving Made Easy with Donor-Advised Funds

This post was updated on February 20, 2018 to reflect new data and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Americans have a history of charitable giving, it’s a part of the fabric of our culture.  Many public institutions such as schools, hospitals, museums, and parks owe their existence to charitable donors.  Charitable giving keeps climbing.  According to The Giving Institute, Americans gave $373B to charities in 2015.  And it goes up almost every year.  See Figure 1.

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Happy Birthday Economic Expansion

As June came to a close, the current economic recovery and expansion turned eight years old. That is the third-longest expansion on record since the end of WWII. That’s according to data compiled by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which marked the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. The NBER is the arbiter of recessions and expansions for the U.S. economy. It bases its calls on data that includes employment, sales, income, and industrial production.

Birthdays are a time for celebration. But when economic expansions start getting older most don’t want to party. Investors usually start fretting over how long it will last.

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