Posts Tagged "Tax Planning"

Tax bracket, tax rate, what’s the difference?

Posted on Jan 19, 2017

The difference between your tax bracket and your tax rate is more than a trick question. For example, knowing your tax rate gives you an accurate reflection of your tax liability in relation to your total income. Knowing your tax bracket is useful for planning purposes. For instance, you may want to spread a Roth conversion over several years in order to stay within the income limits of a particular tax bracket. So, what’s the difference between the two? The main difference is that a tax bracket is a range of income to which a specific tax rate applies, while your effective tax rate is the percentage of your income that you actually pay in tax. Put another way, not every dollar is taxed at the same rate. Your tax bracket shows the rate of tax on the last dollar you made during the tax year. Your effective tax rate reflects the actual amount you paid on all your taxable income. For example, say you’re single and in the 25% bracket for 2016. That means your taxable income is between $37,650 and $91,150. Yet the tax you pay is less than 25% of your income. Why? Because the 25% tax rate only applies to the amount of taxable income within the 25% bracket. The tax on income below $37,650 is calculated using the rate that applies to income in the 10% and 15% brackets. So, if your 2016 taxable income is $40,000, only $2,350 is taxed at 25%. The remainder is taxed at 10% and 15%, leading to a “blended” overall rate. The result: a tax bracket of 25%, and an effective tax rate of less than that. Good tax advice can affect both your bracket and your rate. Want to know how? Contact us. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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IRS issues “state of celebration” rule for same-sex marriages

Posted on Oct 15, 2013

The IRS recently issued a ruling that will treat same-sex married couples the same as opposite-sex couples for federal tax purposes as long as the marriage occurred in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages as legal. This ruling, known as the “state of celebration” rule means same-sex couples can live anywhere they like, and they’ll be considered married for tax purposes as long as the marriage itself occurred where it was legal. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+ , LinkedIn , Facebook,...

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Autumn tax tip

Posted on Sep 10, 2013

Review your tax deductions for 2013 while there’s still time to manage them for a lower tax bill this year. The standard deduction for 2013 is $12,200 for married couples filing a joint return and $6,100 for single taxpayers. If your deductions are close to the threshold, consider accelerating deductible expenses. For example, you can add sales tax paid on a new vehicle to the IRS standard amount when claiming the itemized deduction for state and local sales tax. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+ , LinkedIn , Facebook, and Twitter.  ...

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RMDs require careful planning

Posted on Aug 29, 2013

After all the advice you’ve received about saving for retirement, taking money out of your traditional IRAs and other qualified retirement plans may feel strange. Yet once you reach age 70½, the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules say you have to do just that. Under these rules, you must withdraw at least a minimum amount from your retirement plans each year. Since the withdrawals are considered ordinary income, planning in advance can help you prepare for the impact on your tax return. Here are two suggestions. * Make a list of your accounts. The rules require an RMD calculation for each plan. With traditional IRAs, including SEP and SIMPLE plans, you can take the total distribution from one or more accounts, in any amount you choose. You can also take more than the minimum. However, withdrawals from different types of retirement plans can’t be combined. Say for instance, you have one 401(k) and one IRA. You have to figure the RMD for each and take separate distributions. Why is that important? Failing to take distributions, or taking less than is required, could result in a penalty of 50% of the shortfall. * Plan your required beginning date. In general, you’re required to withdraw RMDs by December 31, starting in the year you turn 70½. The rules provide one exception: You have the option of postponing your first withdrawal until April 1 of the following year. Delaying income can be a sound tax move. But because you’ll still have to take your second distribution by December 31, you’ll receive two distributions in the same year, which can increase your taxes. To discuss these and other RMD rules, give us a call. We can help you create a sound distribution...

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Tax rules can take some of the sting out of investment losses

Posted on Nov 30, 2010

While losses in your stock portfolio may give you plenty of headaches, the losses may have a tax upside. Consider the following strategies between now and the end of the year to restructure your portfolio in a tax-efficient manner. Taxpayers are allowed to offset capital gains (such as from the sale of stocks) with capital losses. If capital losses exceed capital gains for the year, up to $3,000 of losses can be deducted from other income, such as wages. Any loss greater than that can be carried forward to future years. It’s important to remember that stocks you’ve owned for more than one year (called long-term) must be grouped together for purposes of calculating the capital gain or loss. The same is true for stocks held for one year or less (short-term). Here’s the strategy. When you identify stocks in your portfolio that have lost value and are no longer worth holding, consider selling those securities and offset all but $3,000 of the loss by also selling stocks that have gained value. This is known as “tax loss harvesting,” and it can be an effective method for rebalancing your portfolio without paying capital gains taxes. You can often manage the size of your gain or loss when you decide to sell some, but not all, of a particular stock or mutual fund. To do this, you must have kept good records of the date and the price for each block of shares purchased. By selling the highest cost shares first, you’ll minimize your taxable gain or maximize your loss. You must specify the particular shares you are selling at the time you sell. On the other hand, you may see the current market as a buying opportunity. If you are considering an investment in mutual funds, pay special attention to the fund’s proposed date for capital gains distributions. Mutual funds generally distribute all capital gains to investors toward the end of the year. If you purchase a mutual fund just before a distribution date, you will receive the distribution and be required to include it in your taxable income. Since the price of the fund shares before and after a dividend distribution reflect the amount of the dividend, you are actually paying income tax on part of your own purchase price. To avoid this outcome, call the fund and ask for the ex-dividend date and the estimated payout, and make your purchase after that date. For assistance with the year-end tax planning connected with your investments, give our office a...

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