Three Reasons Uncle Sam Took More Money from Your Pocket in 2013

Many Americans made more money in 2013, thanks in part to last year’s soaring equity market and continuing economic recovery. Partly as a result, however, many Americans will be writing bigger checks to Uncle Sam come April 15. Here are the three things most people overlooked in anticipating their 2013 tax bill:

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Don’t Forget the Beginning-of-Year Gifting Season

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Brian Wodar Many people see December 31 as the deadline for tax-advantaged giving each year. While that’s generally true for charitable donations, it may make sense to give one type of gift as early in the year as possible—the annual exclusion gift.

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Lessons Learned in 2013

In 2013, interest rates rose, bonds fell, equities soared, and US income-tax rates climbed higher. Before starting to place bets for 2014, investors would be wise to think about some important lessons from 2013.

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Taming the New Medicare Surtax

The wealthy will likely see higher 2013 income taxes. One of the newest additions to the tax bill is the 3.8% Medicare surtax. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the tax bite—or possibly avoid being bitten altogether.

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Think You Missed the Boat on Roth Conversion?

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Paul Robertson Not likely. As long as you don’t expect to spend down all of your IRA assets, our research suggests that converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can save you plenty on taxes. Conversion would have saved you even more before the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) [...]

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Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use

Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the max—and we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.    

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My, What Big Teeth You Have! Minimizing This Year’s Tax Bite

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Paul Robertson Come April, some Americans will be shocked by their income tax bills, as new rates introduced by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 begin to bite. We estimate that the federal tax bill could rise 14% in 2013 versus 2012 for a hypothetical couple with the [...]

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What Uncle Sam Taketh Away, You Can Give Back (and Get a Tax Deduction)

By Kathleen Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik The government shutdown, now in its second week, has temporarily stopped the flow of government funding for many worthy organizations and may strain the resources of others. Federal grant administration is being delayed. For example, the grant administration staff at the National Institutes of Health has been [...]

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Government Shutdown Is Not a Tax Holiday

With just over a week to go before the October 15 filing deadline for US tax returns that are on extension, the Internal Revenue Service is currently operating under a government shutdown contingency plan.  What does that mean for taxpayers, especially those who have yet to file their 2012 returns?

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Last Call to Take Advantage of Ultralow Rates for GRATs?

 Tara Thompson Popernik (in photo) and Stephen S. Schilling US investors interested in establishing a “zeroed-out” Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) would benefit from completing their transactions before rising interest rates diminish its potential value—preferably before the end of July.

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