As another year comes to a close and we make our plans to ring in the New Year, it behooves all of us to put some time aside for important tax preparations. A few simple steps taken now can leave you in a much better position by the time April 15 rolls around.
Since I am a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, my clients often come to me for financial and tax advice, in addition to their real estate-related needs. I’ve worked with a great network of financial planners and attorneys over the years, who have shared many valuable tax tips. Most of these experts are expecting higher income and capital gains taxes in 2011, in addition to uncertain amendments to tax laws. That’s why certain steps should be taken now so that they are “grandfathered in” before the changes occur.
While it is essential that you consult with your own accountant and/or attorney, here are some strategies to consider for minimizing your tax burden, provided by Ken Rubinstein, a tax and asset protection attorney with New York-based Rubinstein & Rubinstein:
- Sell appreciated property before loss of capital gains treatment and avoid tax via Charitable Remainder Trusts and international tax planning strategies (e.g. tax advantaged foreign annuities and foreign private placement life insurance).
- Convert 401(k)s to Charitable Remainder Unitrust IRAs before the government taxes 401(k)s.
- Consider taking income in 2010, rather than deferring income to 2011 with its likely higher tax rates. As a corollary, you may wish to defer losses to 2011 to offset expected 2011 income at higher tax rates.
- Consider a Dynasty Trust. Such a trust allows the preservation of assets for one’s immediate and remote descendants, along with offering asset protection from creditors, as well as a delay of the estate tax bite for many generations.
- It is also possible to minimize the tax on appreciated assets by exchanging such assets for a foreign annuity policy. The exchange of assets for an annuity policy is neither taxable nor reportable (at least until 2012). Further, capital gains within the annuity policy would not be taxable.
Again, please be sure to consult with your own tax professional before embarking on any of these suggestions. You can also e-mail me at any time for more information … and please forward this email to your friends and colleagues. We can all use some good advice when it comes to taxes!