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17 Midyear Tax Moves You Still Can Make In '17

Winds of tax reform are blowing in Washington, but nothing has happened yet. In the meantime, take advantage of tax breaks currently on the books, including these 17 items:

1. Capital losses: If you realized capital gains from securities sales earlier this year, you can start harvesting losses. Your losses will go to offset capital gains you realize in 2017 plus up to $3,000 of highly taxed ordinary income.

2. Capital gains: Long-term capital gains that aren't offset by losses will be taxed at a maximum rate of only 15% (20% if you're in the top ordinary income tax bracket). But some upper-income investors also may owe a 3.8% tax on investment income.

3. 401(k) contributions: Reduce your tax liability by boosting contributions to a 401(k) plan. For 2017, the maximum deferral is $18,000 ($24,000 if age 50 or over). Not only do you avoid tax on the contributions, the money in your account compounds on a tax-deferred basis.

4. Roth conversions: This may be a good time to convert funds in a traditional IRA to a Roth. Future Roth IRA distributions are tax-free if they meet certain conditions. And though you'll owe income tax on the amount you convert, transferring the funds over several years could reduce the overall tax bite.

5. Higher education: Is your child going to college in the fall? Generally, you can claim one of two higher education tax credits, subject to phaseouts based on income. A tuition deduction, also off-limits to most high-income families, expired after 2016 but could be revived.

6. Monetary gifts: If you give money to charities this year—by check, credit card, or online—the donation generally is deductible in 2017. But you must observe strict recordkeeping requirements for charitable gifts of $250 or more.

7. Wash sales: If you acquire substantially identical securities within 30 days of taking a loss on a sale, you can't deduct the loss. Avoid this "wash sale" rule by waiting at least 31 days to buy back the same securities—or you might buy the securities first and wait at least 31 days before selling the original shares.

8. Dividend-paying stocks: Most stock dividends are taxed at the same preferential tax rates as long-term capital gains. To qualify for this tax break, you must hold the shares for at least 61 days.

9. Installment sales: Generally, you can defer tax on the sale of real estate or other property if you receive payments over two years or longer. Besides stretching out tax payments, you might reduce the effective tax rate if you stay below the thresholds for higher capital gains rates and the 3.8% tax.

10. Hiring your child: Does your child need a summer job? If you hire the child to work at your business, the wages are deductible by the business and taxable to your child at his or her low tax rate.

11. Qualified small business stock: Invest in qualified small business stock (QSBS) of a fledgling company (perhaps your own) and if you hold it for at least five years before selling it, you can exclude 100% of any gain.

12. Vacation homes: When you rent out your vacation home, you can write off specified rental activity costs, plus depreciation, but be careful: If your personal use of the rental home exceeds the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days the home is rented out, deductions are limited to the amount of your rental income.

13. Dependency exemptions: Generally, you can claim a $4,050 dependency exemption for a child graduating from college this spring if you provide more than 50% of the child's annual support. Figure out the amount needed to clear the half-support mark.

14. Charitable gifts of property: Give furniture and clothing in good condition to charity. You normally can deduct the fair market value of property donated to a qualified organization, within certain limits.

15. Dependent care credit: If you pay expenses for the care of your under-age-13 child this year while you (and your spouse, if married) work, you may qualify for the dependent care credit. Note that the cost of summer day camp qualifies, but not overnight camp.

16. Like-kind exchanges: If you swap investment or business real estate you own for like-kind property, the exchange is tax-free, except to the extent you receive any "boot" (e.g., additional money) in the deal. Caution: The IRS imposes timing requirements for this tax break.

17. Estimated taxes: Check to see if you're withholding enough income tax from your paychecks. Make necessary adjustments to avoid owing an "estimated tax penalty" in 2017.



INDEX
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  • Five Steps When You Inherit Assets
  • How To Spell Estate Tax Relief
  • One Last Shot At A Tax Exemption
  • 5 Ways That Can Help You Pay For Higher Education
  • Seven Smart Money Moves You Should Make In 2017
  • Sticking With The Fundamentals
  • 17 Midyear Tax Moves You Still Can Make In '17
  • A Quick Overview Of Preferred Securities
  • Weigh Five 401(k) Options When Leaving A Job
  • Locate A Tax Shelter Near A School
  • How To Improve Chances For College Financial Aid
  • What Would You Do For A Bigger Salary Or More Benefits?
  • 7 Late Moves To Cut Taxes This Year
  • Seven Good Reasons To Create And Fund A Trust
  • A Good Time To Remember How Long-Term Investors Must Think
  • Remember The Lesson Of Rebalancing
  • Section 529 Plans Keep Getting Better And Better
  • Three Ways You Can Play Good Stock Market Defense
  • When Can You Reconvert To A Roth?
  • 8 Compelling Tax Reasons For Roth IRA Conversion
  • Steer Clear Of These 7 Traps For IRA Owners
  • Make Sure That You Comply With All The RMD Rules
  • How A Financial Advisor Can Help
  • Rising Housing Prices May Be Sign That New Bubble Is Forming
  • After Five Great Years For Stocks, What's Next?
  • What Are Latest Trends In Prenups?
  • The Three Biggest Financial Mistakes That You Can Make
  • 4 Of The Main Reasons To Keep Your Bypass Trust
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  • Be An Elephant And Downplay Talk Of Bulls And Bears
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  • 2013 Was A Poor Year For Diversification
  • Risk Rose Slightly In January, But Has Decreased In February
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  • Identifying And Fixing The Global Economy's Woes
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  • An Update On College Savings Plans
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  • A Primer On Managed Futures
  • REITS: A Very Good Portfolio Diversifier, But Should You Invest In Them?
  • Does Investing Internationally Still Diversify Your Portfolio?
  • Another Way To View The Current Valuation Of REIT Sector
  • Understanding Risk-Preparing For The Unseen
  • Why Not Alternative Fixed Income Investments?
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  • Identity Theft : Correct Those Credit Reporting Errors
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  • What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Money Market Yields?
  • Q & A With Robert Arnott
  • Identity Theft : Applying For Credit? Better Check Your Credit Report First
  • Identity Theft: Everyday Prevention
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  • Identity Theft: Tips to Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft: A Note About Social Security Numbers
  • Identity Theft: What Documents Should You Shred Or Store?
  • Identity Theft : Don't Fall For That E-Mail!
  • Identity Theft : One More Reason To Protect Your Credit
  • Section 529 Plans Are Popular But Not The Only Way To Go
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  • The Importance Of Commodities In A Portfolio
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  • 4 Steps To A More Secure Investment Portfolio For Your Retirement
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  • Understanding Deflation
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  • Investing In Times Of Uncertainty And Risk: The Importance Of Diversification
  • 2001 Tax Relief Act Changes Education Planning
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  • Estate Taxes To Be Reduced Then Repealed In 2010
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  • Rethinking Estate Planning
  • Retirement Plan Contribution Limit Changes
  • Shopping For A Bank Account That Pays The Highest Possible Rate Of Interest
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  • Do It Yourself Tax Preparers Watch Out: Tax Answers From IRS Centers Oftentimes Are Incorrect And/Or Insufficient
  • Your Medical File Report May Need A Check-Up
  • Five Tips For Preventing Thefts From Your Checking Account
  • Home Office Deductions: Hoops To Jump Through
  • Income Tax Effect On Single And Married Taxpayers
  • Income Tax Planning For Investments
  • Property Tax Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
  • The IRS Will Follow Your Wealth To The Ends Of The Earth
  • When Do You Need Life Insurance
  • REITs: A Great Diversification Investment
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  • Estate Tax Will Be Reduced Gradually, Then Repealed in 2010



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