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Tax Planning for Major Life Transitions

March 1

Tax Planning for Major Life Transitions

When Benjamin Franklin famously wrote about the certainty of death and taxes, he may not have realized that that these two aspects of American life would later become important elements of financial planning.

Estate and tax planning are not the most enjoyable topics of conversation. However, they are essential in terms of anticipating certain situations that could become costly. Estate planning is related to the efficiently managing money for individuals who are approaching retirement and want a smart way to distribute their assets to loved ones when they pass away. Tax planning involves various methods to reduce tax burdens, particularly in relation to major life events like marriage, divorce, childbirth and going to college.

Many taxpayers are not aware of the potential deductions, deferments and credits that they can take advantage of at certain points in their lives. Here are some examples:

 

Walking Down the Aisle

Most couples believe that getting married means a lower tax liability, and this is true to a certain extent. However, couples who earn incomes that are higher than the national average may end up paying more taxes when their status is “married filing jointly” than other couples who could actually benefit if they file separately. There may be other reasons when filing separately makes sense, such as when one spouse faces tax or child support arrears.

 

Childbirth

The joy of welcoming a baby into the family is shared by the IRS in the form of certain tax deductions and credits. Unfortunately, many taxpayers who are not aware of these benefits forego claiming them.

 

Going to College

Taxpayers who seek higher education are rewarded by the IRS in the form of educational tax credits, as well as tax-free investment and savings accounts. There are certain income limitations that may preclude educational tax credits, and thus it makes sense to conduct tax planning in advance.

 

Dissolution of Marriage

Aside from the obvious change in filing status, getting divorced may bring about certain tax implications related to child support payments and alimony. Individuals who retain child custody could face greater economic burdens even as they receive financial support from their former spouses. For this reason, it is important to investigate potential tax liabilities before the divorce decree is entered.

 

Retirement

When American taxpayers retire, holding on to every income dollar becomes a serious economic priority. Personal savings, retirement accounts and Social Security income can be taxed under certain circumstances. Even moving to a more affordable Latin American or Caribbean nation for retirement does not leave U.S. taxpayers off the hook. The best way to approach retirement taxation is to start planning now.

In the end, tax planning is something that more people should look into before any of the aforementioned events take place. If you would like to learn more about how tax planning can help you save money and take greater advantage of available tax credits, contact the tax professionals at Donohoo Accounting Services in Cincinnati by calling 513-528-3982.

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