The foundation of all of our services is investment planning, a process for positioning a portfolio for success in a variety of financial and economic environments. We use a process called asset allocation to optimize each portfolio’s risk and reward profile. Asset combinations may be developed to minimize risk for a given return target or to maximize the return potential for a given level of risk tolerance.
When investment management strategies are joined to wealth transfer objectives and tax considerations, one begins the process of wealth management. For 2013, the tax environment changed dramatically.
- The top income tax rate on earned income is 39.6%, or 40.5% when the additional tax from the Affordable Care Act is included. The top rate on investment income is 43.4%.
- The tax rates on capital gains and qualified dividends, again including the new health care taxes, are 0%, 15%, 18.8% and 23.8%.
- The federal estate tax exemption is $5 million (plus inflation adjustments), and the federal estate tax rate is 40%. The federal estate tax exemption is portable between spouses, so married couples may protect $10 million from such taxes.
For the first time since 2001, these tax provisions do not come with an explicit expiration date. Nothing about taxation can be truly permanent, but one may work with greater confidence with these new rules in crafting tax-efficient strategies for wealth management.
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