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3 tax breaks that may be better in the long run: Tax Strategy Scan

Our weekly roundup of tax-related investment strategies and news your clients may be thinking about.

3 tax breaks that may be better in the long run
Clients may be better off focusing on the tax benefits of estate tax exemption, favorable capital gains tax rates and charitable contributions as they will bring greater gains than those from the new tax breaks under the new law, according to this The New York Times article. “You have to be careful making permanent decisions based on a temporary law,” an expert says. “This tax law is a temporary provision because most of the individual tax provisions sunset at the end of 2025.”

Gary D. Cohn, left, the director of the National Economic Council, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week unveiled the Trump administration’s plan to overhaul the tax code.
Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, right, takes a question during the White House press briefing with Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, center, and Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. President Donald Trumps call to slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, a number that many economists say would boost the deficit so much that the cut would be short-lived, may be less about policy and more about deal-making. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

How part-time work in retirement affects Social Security taxes and Medicare costs
Older working clients who opt to file for Social Security before full retirement age are advised to account for the impact of their wage income on their benefits, according to this article on CNBC. That's because their benefits would be reduced temporarily and up to 85% of their benefits will be taxed if their combined income exceeds a certain threshold. Greater income may also push them to a higher tax bracket, which could mean surcharges for Medicare. "If you're a professional and you continue to work, you can be subject to the surcharges pretty easily. It's good to at least anticipate it if it's unavoidable," an expert says.

Death means capital gains take a holiday for heirs selling a house
Clients who inherited a house will owe no taxes on capital gains if they opt to sell the property after the original owner's death, according to this article on Los Angeles Times. Thanks to a “step up in basis,” the house will assume a new value based on the property's market value at the time of death. "So if it’s worth $400,000 when you die and your heirs sell it for $400,000, no capital gains taxes will be owed on the sale."

Ways clients can escape from a lousy HSA
Clients with high-deductible health care plan should take advantage of the opportunity of opening a health savings account, according to Morningstar. An HSA is funded with pretax dollars, offers tax-free growth on investments and provides tax-exempt withdrawals for qualified medical expenses. Those who have low-quality employer-provided HSA have the option of using the "captive" HSA to avail of automatic payroll deduction and moving the funds periodically to their chosen HSA, according to an expert.

A majority of affluent Americans are likely to adjust their financial plans under the new law, according to the AICPA. Here's how advisors can help.
April 19

3 tips for managing client money during their first year of retirement
Seniors who are in their first year of retirement are advised to create a budget and a backup budget to better manage their finances, according to this Motley Fool article. They should also identify all available income sources, such as Social Security and pensions, as well as explore new income streams, such as tax-free municipal bonds. Clients should also try to seek professional advice to avoid costly financial mistakes.

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