Some of the changes to the tax law proposed by President Biden have caused a stir, particularly those affecting changes to capital gains tax rules and the cost base. What this means for you is that in almost all cases there are some general practices that can keep your tax burden down. Here are three ways to ensure that you keep as much of your investment profits as possible.
1. Keep investments longer than a year
Tax laws favor long-term investments; You pay a much lower tax rate if you hold your stocks and bonds for more than a year. If you are a day trader, you will need to get used to paying normal taxes on all blocked winnings. However, if you are a long-term investor, you are entitled to cheap long-term capital gains rates after holding an investment for more than a year.
Now to the why. Short term investing is usually associated with speculation as opposed to real investing. When you’re trying to make money from volatile spikes in a stock or cryptocurrency, you’re not really investing – you are speculating. The law encourages you to buy and hold investments that have a reasonable likelihood of increasing in value over the long term. You are in much better “tax form” if you adhere to a buy and hold philosophy.
One major exception is if you make over $ 1 million annually. One of President Biden’s tax proposals is to remove the preferred long-term capital gains tax for these taxpayers. While this is only a small fraction of taxpayers and it is not known exactly how this will affect, holding investments that last longer than a year would not offer the same benefit in this particular case.
2. Own real estate
If you own real estate, you can foreclose $ 250,000 in profits on your property at the time of sale (if you are a single filer). The number climbs to $ 500,000 if you’re married and file a joint statement. Any gains above these exclusions will be taxed at capital gains rates provided the property is your primary residence and you have lived in it for two of the last five years.
This means that if you are a married taxpayer and you bought a home for $ 500,000 and sold it for $ 1,000,000 in the future, all of your profits would be tax excluded. This is a great opportunity – as well as a low hanging fruit – for those of considerable wealth or for those who simply want to avoid capital gains tax.
Whether or not you own real estate, there is a good chance you have a mortgage as well. When the time to file your tax return, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on loans up to $ 750,000. While it’s not a reason to own in and of itself, using interest payments to your advantage is an added plus.
3. Maximum retirement accounts
Money held in taxable accounts is continuously taxed and when profits are realized. If you buy a stock that generates quarterly dividends and increases in value, you will be taxed twice: when you receive dividends and when you sell the stock. Changes in tax law could increase both investment income and rate of return for taxable accounts.
Enter your retirement accounts, specifically the Roth IRA. You will be contributing after-tax money, but you will not pay capital gains taxes or growth capital gains taxes – even if you withdraw the money in retirement. Roth IRA contributions are capped at $ 6,000 per person for 2021, and direct contributions are capped by your income. Nevertheless, the Roth IRA is considered to be one of the most powerful retirement accounts in today’s tax landscape.
Deferred tax retirement accounts – such as 401 (k) s and 403 (b) s – offer additional planning options. Unlike the Roth IRA, today you get a tax deduction to contribute to a tax-deferred retirement plan and pay normal income tax when the money is withdrawn. On the way there, however, you are not subject to any capital gains or capital gains tax. Your employer-sponsored retirement plan is another way to protect investment funds from ongoing taxation. So make sure you contribute as much as you can.
A balanced approach
Without guessing too much about what the future may or may not hold, it is a reasonable assumption that tax rates (for both regular income and capital gains) will rise in the future. Knowing this, it is worth thinking about how to protect, defer, and legally avoid these taxes before they become an immediate reality. Make sure you come up with a financial plan that reflects your expectations and consider a number of possible outcomes.