TAXES can be complicated (especially in San Francisco), and our job is to help make them as simple as reasonably possible. We’re big believers in the Internet, so please take advantage of this complimentary 2016 tax guide for some food for thought about tax strategy and how to minimize taxes. That said, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us Tel. 415-742-4249 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation (new clients) or an in-depth meeting (existing clients), so we can work together on your tax planning needs.
Tax Guide – Highlights
- Tax Planning Basics – When it comes to tax planning, nothing is simple. For example, first you need to consider your marginal tax rate — this is the regular rate you’ll pay on your next dollar of “ordinary income” (salary, business income, interest and more).
- Investing – When it comes to tax planning and your investments, it can be difficult to know where to start. First, tax treatment of investments varies based on a number of factors. You need to understand the potential tax consequences of buying, holding and selling a particular investment. Higher-income taxpayers also need to know when higher capital gains tax rates and the NIIT kick in.
- Real Estate – To maximize the tax benefits of property ownership, San Francisco homeowners, investors and real estate professionals alike need to be aware of the breaks available to them as well as the rules and limits that apply. Whether you’re selling your principal residence, maintaining a home office or investing in rental properties, tax savings are available if you plan carefully.
- Business and Executive Compensation – Tax planning continues to be challenging for businesses; and with the startup scene in the Bay Area as hot as coal, we get a lot of questions on compensation for startups as well as established businesses. Several valuable tax breaks have recently expired, giving California businesses little time to implement tax-saving steps accordingly. In addition, some significant tax-related changes under the ACA require attention. Finally, with the economic recovery continuing to move forward (and the threat of a new recession), you may not know which tax strategies will be appropriate this year. You can tackle these challenges head on by reviewing the information here and then discussing the relevant issues with your tax advisor, either in person at our Geary Street office or over the phone.
- Family and Education – 2016 may be another good year for San Francisco Bay Area families to save taxes. Most of the child- and education-related tax breaks on the table the last several years are available once again to parents — or in some cases to grandparents or to students themselves. And a new savings opportunity is now available for people with disabilities and their families. See “What’s new! ABLE accounts offer a tax-advantaged way to fund disability expenses.”
- Charitable Giving – Giving to charity can provide not only large tax deductions, but also the satisfaction of doing good. Fortunately, here in the city we have a wealth of non-profits from which to choose. On top of that, it’s one of the most flexible tax planning tools because you can control the timing to best meet your needs. Well-planned gifts also can save estate tax while allowing you to take care of your heirs in the manner you choose. But you must keep in mind various limits that could reduce the tax benefits of your donations.
- Retirement – Planning for your retirement means making a series of financial decisions that will have an impact on your golden years: Should you invest in a traditional tax-deferred plan, a Roth plan that offers tax-free distributions, or both? If you opt for a Roth plan, which of the several options available is right for you? Also, when should you start withdrawing from your retirement savings, and in what amounts?
- Estate Planning – With estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions at record-high levels, far fewer taxpayers need to worry about being subject to these taxes. But Congress could still pass legislation at any time making estate tax law changes — and not necessarily for the better. So whether or not you’d be subject to estate taxes under the current exemptions, it’s a good idea to consider whether you can seize opportunities to potentially lock in tax savings today. Those same opportunities might not be available in the future.
Use the links above to peruse our 2016 tax guide, but remember every situation is unique. In addition, the intersection of local, California, and Federal tax laws as well as the common practice among San Franciscans to wear many hats (e.g., have a “regular” job, a “startup” investment, and/or “overseas” interests), means that your tax situation and tax planning needs are unique. Don’t by shy, call us today to discuss your particular situation!