Traditional Year-End Strategies

Year-end 2014 presents unique challenges. At the same time, traditional year-end planning techniques nevertheless remain important both to maximize benefits in connection with what’s new and to do so within the usual ebb and flow of the taxpayer’s personal economy. Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting year-end strategies to keep in mind.

For individuals, the income tax rates for 2014 are unchanged from 2013: 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35 and 39.6 percent. The top rate for qualified capital gains and dividends is also unchanged from 2013: 20 percent.

Year-end planning should look to avoid spikes in income, whether capital gains or other income, which for higher-income taxpayers may push capital gains into either the 39.6% brocket for short-term gains or 20% capital gains bracket for long-term gains. Spreading the recognition of certain income between 2014 and 2015 may accomplish this goal.

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