fbpx

< Back to Thought Leadership

It’s Time to Review Your Investments for Tax Planning

This time of year, taxpayers with investments should be reviewing their portfolio to determine year-to-date gains and losses. If you are projecting large capital gains, it might be a good time to sell a failing investment to counter the gains. This is not only helpful with tax planning, but also with making sure you understand your financial health and portfolio activity.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made the tax planning aspect of your investments even more difficult by changing how capital gain tax is calculated. While the TCJA didn’t change long-term capital gains rates, it did change the tax brackets for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.

For 2018 through 2025, these brackets are no longer linked to the ordinary-income tax brackets for individuals. So, for example, you could be subject to the top long-term capital gains rate even if you aren’t subject to the top ordinary-income tax rate.

Old Rules

For the last several years, individual taxpayers faced three federal income tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends: 0%, 15%, and 20%. The rate brackets were tied to the ordinary-income rate brackets.

Specifically, if the long-term capital gains and/or dividends fell within the 10% or 15% ordinary-income brackets, no federal income tax was owed. If they fell within the 25%, 28%, 33% or 35% ordinary-income brackets, they were taxed at 15%. And, if they fell within the maximum 39.6% ordinary-income bracket, they were taxed at the maximum 20% rate.

In addition, higher-income individuals with long-term capital gains and dividends were also hit with the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). It kicked in when modified adjusted gross income exceeded $200,000 for singles and heads of households and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. So, many people actually paid 18.8% (15% + 3.8%) or 23.8% (20% + 3.8%) on their long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.

New Rules

The TCJA retains the 0%, 15%, and 20% rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends for individual taxpayers. However, for 2018 through 2025, these rates have their own brackets. Here are the 2018 brackets:

  • Singles:
    • 0%: $0 – $38,600
    • 15%: $38,601 – $425,800
    • 20%: $425,801 and up
  • Heads of households:
    • 0%: $0 – $51,700
    • 15%: $51,701 – $452,400
    • 20%: $452,401 and up
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • 0%: $0 – $77,200
    • 15%: $77,201 – $479,000
    • 20%: $479,001 and up

For 2018, the top ordinary-income rate of 37%, which also applies to short-term capital gains and nonqualified dividends, doesn’t go into effect until income exceeds $500,000 for singles and heads of households or $600,000 for joint filers. (Both the long-term capital gains brackets and the ordinary-income brackets will be indexed for inflation for 2019 through 2025.) The new tax law also retains the 3.8% NIIT and its $200,000 and $250,000 thresholds.

More Thresholds, More Complexity

Tax planning can be a daunting task, especially for 2018 with the numerous changes going into effect. Contact your local Blue & Co. advisor to discuss tax planning strategies or any questions you have.

Tax Reform Resource Center

Read More Thought Leadership Articles Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter. Click Here.

Federal Perkins Loan Program Announcements

Federal Perkins Loan Program Announcements

Electronic announcements May 3, 2019 and May 24, 2019 Colleges and universities who participate in the Federal Perkins Program are no longer able to award or disburse new Perkins Loans. The Department of Education (“Department”) continues to release new announcements and thus, changes and updates to the program that participating colleges and universities should consider […]

Learn More
Credits and Incentives An extra return on your investments.

Credits and Incentives: An extra return on your investments.

The topic is always in the news — a state or city offering a major corporation a generous package of incentives to relocate or even to keep their operations in place. However, did you realize, you do not necessarily have to be a Fortune 500 company to negotiate those benefits? Because state and local incentives […]

Learn More
Contract Labor Impact on Wage Index

Contract Labor: Impact on Wage Index

Outsourcing is a common practice in all areas of business, including the healthcare sector. Although this is a major expense for a hospital, it can have an effect on the wage index factor impacting Medicare reimbursement. The wage index factor is determined through a hospital’s wage index average hourly wage which includes both employees on […]

Learn More