What are Tax Strategies for High-Income Earners?

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Tax Basics and New Tax Laws

Before we move on to the tax reduction strategy, it is critical to understand taxation basics from bracket to bracket. Tax brackets are the percent of your federal taxable income owed to the IRS. AGI is the total gross income minus any deduction from the tax code that the taxpayer can make. Taxable income is adjusted gross income minus allowances for personal exemptions and deductibles.

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An overview of the tax rules for high-income earners

We will begin by looking at the tax laws applicable to high-income earners. High-income earners make $170,050 per year in gross income, or $340,100 if married or filing jointly. The change applies to high-income individuals who make additional contributions to a retirement program during a tax year.

 

Below the line deductions

Below line deduction, also referred to as standard deduction or itemized deduction, is calculated according to your AGI. Unfortunately, not all deductions below a certain level reduce tax. According to estimates, almost 90% will use standard deductions and almost 95% will not extend their deductions. Currently, there will be a 12% deduction for a single person in 2020. The average annual amount will be $25900 if married, filing jointly, or the maximum of 5% for those who are disabled. It's harder to itemize deducted wages in higher-paying households. It may be more beneficial if you can itemize deductions on a separate tax return.

Also read: Are Home Improvements Tax Deductible?

 

Invest in a health savings account

While health insurance is expensive, health savings accounts can provide many benefits for people with high incomes. Invest in an HSA to reduce your tax burden and save money on healthcare expenses. 

From 2020, a single person may contribute up to $3,500 a year, or $7,100 for family members. As of 2020, medical expenses over 5% can be deducted as taxable expenses.

 

Residency Planning

Tax planning strategies for homeowners who have a property in multiple states include tax residency planning. Typically, it takes careful planning and attention to detail and is best handled by a well-qualified accountant. Various state income taxes vary. Many states pay more than others, and most don't even pay state income tax. These states include: If you have a house or business in one of these states, it might be worth considering making an initial home there. 

 

Buy municipal bonds

High-income earners should consider investing in municipal bonds. They borrow cash in exchange for fixed payments. Bonds mature with an initial return for the buyer. The earnings of the tax-exempt bond are typically excluded from income taxes, including state income taxes and local income tax rates. Interest payments on the earnings are tax-free. Municipal bonds generally produce less money than other taxable bonds but help reduce tax burdens.

 

Time your gains or losses

Managing gains in the tax system should include planning and avoiding Medicare surtaxes. Trust funds distribute funds amongst beneficiaries over a specified period, and the rest will go to charity. The gift of appreciated assets reduces the taxes imposed on these assets. Invest in qualified opportunities.

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Invest in companies that pay

Income earned by working at your job is treated with ordinary income tax rates, so it is very expensive if you have an excellent income. You are likely aware of capital gains taxes, which are higher, meaning the earnings are taxable. Make investments in companies that offer qualified dividends. Generally speaking, ordinary dividends are taxed as ordinary income. If you want to get tax advantages from dividend earnings, your investment is needed. Companies that pay qualified dividends are issued either through the United States or a qualifying foreign company.

Also read: Work From Home Tax Deductions Due To Covid-19

 

Consider a defined benefit plan

If the business has its defined-benefit plan, the company can help with taxes and contribute to the retirement of its owners. A defined-benefit plan is like a pension. option for preparing a tax return in addition to your 401(k) and 401(k). It can help you reduce the amount of tax you owe. In other words, if the income from a company exceeds the amount required for a qualified income deduction, you can save the amount. The plan can be used as an alternative to reducing your income to qualify.

 

Change the character of your income

You may need to update your portfolio to reflect your income tax status. When you have businesses, changing their corporate structure can help to minimize the taxes that high earners can pay. Let's see how you can convert an old traditional IRA into a Roth account. A Roth distribution is generally taxed without penalty once you are older than 55 or older. A Roth IRA does not count as investment income, so your MAGI remains unaffected.

Changes in your income will decrease your MAGI for each tax year and allow for the use of lower tax brackets for certain situations. The good news is that by using tax deductibility, tax credits, and contribution strategies, you could lower your tax burden. 

 

Income tax deferral

Investing in vehicles without taxation does not necessarily have tax benefits compared to IRAs or HSA accounts. Deferrals are often effective tax strategies that help low-income earners reduce their current-year taxes. Tax-deferred accounts also help compound returns quickly and protect income from the tax rate. A 401(k) contribution is the easiest way to defer investment income into your retirement account.

Also read: Are GoFundMe Donations Tax Deductible?

 

Set up a Donor-Advised Fund

If a charity tries to donate money to a charity, then you can get it back to them for a tax deduction. If you have set up your donor-approved fund, you will likely be able to make an annual deduction for contributions. 

A donor-advised fund is a charitable fund you can create that will let you select the amount that will go to a particular charity.

You may also make contributions this year to reduce taxes on your income taxes. The next time the donation is due, you decide where you can give it each year or if it can be used for charity.

 

Early Property Taxes

The tax credit is restricted to $10,000 per year under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A proposal to repeal this limit in 2020, however, failed. Deductibles are limited to $10,000 for property taxes in a single year. It is probably worth paying taxes in advance for tax purposes, even if you've not reached your limit for the year. Some states and counties offer discounts if they are paid earlier to avoid wasting money. The most crucial thing is that you need your tax debt paid to reduce your federal debt.

 

Maximize your retirement contributions

Employer-based accounts like a 401(k) and a 443b account can help reduce the cost of your tax return.

Money deposited in these accounts is never taxed until you withdraw it, lowering taxes each time you contribute. The amount withdrawn is much higher than it would be without tax on the earnings.

 

529 Plan Contribution

Generally, contributions to a plan are combined. This plan has a special provision, particularly for increasing gifts to family members. You can contribute up to 75K annually to a student's 5-29 Plan. Extra gifts for one individual for five years can reduce lifetime exclusivity. In contrast, a student can start a new account immediately, allowing funds to accumulate over time as they grow.

Also read: Are Moving Expenses Tax Deductible?

tax sheets and calculator

Use a health savings account

Some of these savings can be deposited into the Health Savings Account (HSPA) for tax purposes as well. Only those who select high-deductible plans may contribute. In 2021, the maximum contribution was $1,000. Even though medical costs exceed them every year, HSA contribution limits can affect inflation. Use the HSA funds to cover the costs related to the treatment of dental diseases, prescription medications, and emergency medicine. You may also get a tax break by withdrawing funds to pay for non-qualified expenses.

 

Restructuring Your Company

Change the company structure. The conversion of sole proprietorship businesses into corporations provides an enormous financial advantage. In some circumstances, choosing a C corporation will reduce tax rates because they are taxed differently than an S corporation. In some cases, the company's income can also be deducted by up to 20%. By changing the business structure to a sole proprietorship, the parents would have an easier time hiring their children at the same tax rate with a lower withholding rate.

 

Roth IRA conversion

Roth IRAs provide tax advantages in terms of tax savings, while also protecting against tax if you are among the highest-paid. In contrast to traditional retirement accounts, Roth IRAs receive post-tax income as part of their contributions. You'll have tax paid in the event the contributions are paid before you withdraw. It seems to be nothing but a benefit. All earnings earned from an IRA are tax-deductible. You can put your savings into the Roth IRA as long as you have the funds available.

 

Convert IRAs

Change from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA after age 57. Roth IRAs do not fall into this category of investment. Therefore, it won't increase your MAGI, resulting in an exemption from the Medicare surtax, which is generally 3.7 percent. The Roth IRA will reduce the income tax on earnings.

 

Opt for a SEP-IRA

Simplified employee retirement IRAs may also offer some business owners an attractive alternative to IRAs. This kind of retirement planning aims to reduce the cost of employees' retirement and ensure they are covered. Decrease your tax liability by contributing up to 25% of your salary.

Also read: Is Rent Tax-Deductible?

 

Look into cash-value life insurance

Cash-value life insurance is more expensive than standard life insurance. The higher cap on the cash amount and the ability for high-income workers to withdraw their money can also benefit them if they are earning income as well. Moreover, the total amount is tax-free, and the money you have accumulated will not be taxed for the restitution of a loan against the plan. Death benefits are not taxable, and your beneficiaries do not pay tax.

 

Manage your stocks and bonds

Securities, bonds, and other traded assets can help reduce the tax burden. Bonds are exempt from Medicare and federal income tax as they tend to be taxed at much higher rates than the average income. When a stock is bought or sold, the timing of its sale will affect taxation.

 

Business Restructuring

If your corporation is still a private company without a formal structure, you may lose tax advantages. Create a business entity to protect your investment and assets and minimize your income from taxation.

 

Sell Inherited Real Estate

If you bought a property from your mother, your family could be unaware that you can easily reduce your property tax. Tell the story of your father buying your family's house at an asking price of $900,000. If they were alive, the family's assets would have received $7,500 in dividend payments. In other words, a homeowner may pay more tax than the amount owed. It helps reduce your capital income taxes.

 

Income Deferral or Acceleration

It's not the best way to minimize taxable compensation in each circumstance, and it could reduce your tax liabilities. Income deferral does not mean a deferral of earnings. Those who have long-term investment plans know how to compound the amount that they save on taxes in the long run. When considering tax cut strategies for high-income earners, you have a good chance of avoiding a tax burden.

 

Health Savings Account Investing

If you wish to save tax money it is better to contribute to a savings account or health plan. It's called HAS, and many high-income people don't utilize the plan or use it incorrectly. Not everyone is eligible. Using the above strategies helps you increase profits because there's no tax.

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Deduct mortgage interest expenses

It is impossible to talk about tax strategies to high-income individuals. The best time to purchase a house is now. In 2020, you can deduct mortgage payments on up to 80% of your home's principal. When you take these and other itemized deductions, you can avoid tax deductions that are usually not a consideration in higher incomes.

 

Be generous with charitable donations

Charitable donations can help your organization in many different ways. It also helps lower the tax burdens of people who earn high incomes. Most people don't realize just how much a person's adjusted earnings could exceed 60 %. You need a receipt for all your donations.

 

Donate appreciated stock

 Eliminating future capital gains on a stock held for more than one year and obtaining an itemized deduction. The excess above the 30% AGI limit can still be carried over in taxable years. Although it is smaller than the AGI limits for cash contributions there are current and future tax advantages. Having a higher income will help a lot with the uncertainty about the future income tax rate for low-income workers. This can help reduce your concentration risk and control how your money flows.

 

Donor-Advised Funds

In particular, high-income years are possible. This type of system allows you to give grants at different times to different organizations and allows money from your donors to be taxed on future transformative giving. A DAF can be a good resource for preserving your legacy if your children want one.

 

Pay attention to taxes in your portfolio and minimize them where possible

Whoever is thinking about paying taxes every year has never guessed it yet. The key to optimization is in the tax strategy; strategies such as tax-loss harvesting and using tax-efficient vehicles offer many creative options.

 

Tax-efficient vehicles

The individual stock is cheap and efficient so that the timing control of your realized earnings is controlled. Several vehicle types, such as active mutual funds and, in fewer cases, ETFs, pass the profit generated from the fund through the shareholders yearly. This depends on the sale or not of shares. Investors in such vehicles have little control over the total tax arising from their investments in a given year. Mutual funds or ETFs still play a crucial role in a diverse portfolio. Incorporating stocks can help determine your tax situation as a whole and allow tax-losing opportunities to be exploited.

 

Tax-loss harvesting

Tax-loss recouping enables a person to apply their loss to any realized gain and up to $3,500 in income on their tax return. You can also reduce your taxes and maintain an adequate asset allocation. 

As an example, if your company performed exceptionally well this past year, you could compensate for the realized profit if you sold your investment to pay taxes.

 

Defer taxes on realized gains where it makes sense

If the current tax system is not able to reduce income tax rates, then you could also avoid paying unnecessary taxes for realized profits.

 

Qualified Opportunity Zone Investments

The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act introduced the Qualified Opportunity Zone programs to promote public and long-term private investment in economically distressed communities. Investors who invest in QOZs have the opportunity to recoup taxation on the income of recognized capital gains within 60 days of investment in QOZ. The reduction of a percentage of the realized gain is beneficial, but taxable gains are not currently available for investments after January 1, 2022.

 

1031 Exchange

Maybe your holiday house is worth more than the one that you bought decades earlier and has become worth much more than the one that's still worth it. Nevertheless, the solution does not meet the needs of the family. Often, the deduction for depreciated earnings can help reduce taxable income during your ownership of the home. Having these deductions lower your cost basis and increases your gains tax rate at a higher rate.

 

Conclusion

It's complicated managing wealth. It's far more important finding the best tax-reducing methods available to the most productive people for the best results. The best financial advisor can make everything happen. Covenant Wealth Advisors takes the time to understand you. We can help you develop your wealth plan that achieves your objectives and maximizes your wealth. 


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What are Tax Strategies for High-Income Earners?
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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