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Tax Planning

Tax Planning

Tax planning is a crucial aspect of financial planning that involves optimizing tax efficiency while minimizing tax liabilities. Successful tax planning results from strategic forecasting and proactive decision-making. Careful coordination among bookkeepers, tax preparers, and attorneys ensures accurate tax reporting and compliance with applicable tax laws and regulations. High net worth individuals, however, require a more sophisticated approach to ensure they have clarity on the tax impact of specific decisions and strategies, as many decisions have impact over multiple years or generations. Your trusted advisors can help to discern and introduce strategies that accomplish goals and more advantageous outcomes.

 

There are two basic types of taxation that are taken into account during tax planning: income taxes and estate and gift taxes. It is important to understand how these two types of taxes impact various decisions, and when an individual can mitigate or eliminate tax exposure.

Working in close collaboration with tax planning experts enables you to stay organized, informed, and proactive in managing your tax obligations. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of errors, penalties, and missed opportunities for tax savings.

Tax reporting consolidation involves consolidating financial information from various sources–such as limited partnerships, corporations, direct investments, investment accounts, qualified accounts and plans, bank statements, and income sources–into a single, comprehensive tax reporting system. This important step helps streamline the tax preparation process and ensures that all relevant information is accurately reported to tax preparers and on tax returns.

 

Business owners face an additional set of decisions that can impact their annual tax liabilities and how income will be reported in the future. These include entity selection, where assets are held, and types of income and expenses each entity realizes. These decisions are specific to an individual’s situation and the types of businesses they operate.

 

For business owners and executives, retirement plan design and usage are integral for tax planning. Retirement accounts offer valuable tax advantages that can help individuals build wealth, reduce tax liabilities, and save for retirement. Retirement plans include 401(k)s, IRAs, Simple IRAs, SEP-IRAs, and deferred compensation plans. Contributions to defined contribution plans are typically tax-deductible and reduce taxable income in the year of contribution. Additionally, earnings within these accounts grow tax-deferred until withdrawal, allowing investments to compound over time without the drag of annual taxes.

Benefits

By maximizing contributions to retirement accounts and strategically managing distributions, individuals can minimize current tax burdens and enhance long-term financial independence.

Charitable giving strategies are an important component of tax planning, offering you the opportunity to support causes and ministries you care about while maximizing tax benefits. Charitable donations can be tax-deductible--reducing tax liabilities both from an income tax, and estate and gift tax perspective. This may include strategies such as donating appreciated assets, establishing donor-advised funds (DAF), gifts from qualified accounts, utilizing charitable remainder trusts, or by incorporating charitable gifts into an estate plan.

 

From an estate and gift tax standpoint, there are many opportunities to mitigate or eliminate exposure to estate and gift tax, while maximizing gifts to friends, family members, and charities. If an individual’s net worth or a couple's joint net worth is greater than the estate and gift tax exemption, there are various strategies that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate their estate’s exposure to estate and gift tax.

The StoryOne approach to strategic tax planning

We begin by analyzing all aspects of your specific situation to determine when and how to utilize qualified accounts, including those that are tax deferred and tax free. When constructing your portfolio, your team carefully considers where each type of investment is made, whether it is taxable, tax deferred, or tax free, which can help reduce tax drag and maximize long-term value.

The earlier an individual begins the process of evaluating their estate and gift tax exposure, the more strategies can be implemented to reduce their exposure to those taxes.

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