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The What and Whys of Tax Review

Here are some reasons why tax review is important and what we are looking at when we review them.

Our initial review involves looking at a taxpayer’s marginal tax rate, effective/average tax rate, taxes paid, and both total income and taxable income. These items provide us insight so we can make suggestions on your overall financial wellness.

Marginal Tax Rate

Your marginal tax rate is your tax bracket. These brackets can be looked at like buckets where you fill each one as your income increases. You may be at the top end of a bracket, or just barely entering a specific bracket. We can use this to strategize potential Roth conversions, or distributions from IRA’s to decrease future required minimum distributions. This can also be used in decisions on charitable giving and the various options that create the most tax efficient approach.

Effective or Average Tax Rate

In addition to your marginal tax rate, we are also looking at your effective, or average, tax rate. This represents a blended percentage of what you are paying in taxes. This is your total tax divided by your total income. Your effective tax rate can show you how tax efficient your income sources are in any given year. Capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed at more favorable tax rates. Roth distributions (taken after reaching the appropriate age and waiting period) are not taxable. This helps us put together potential plans to utilize this blended percentage as efficiently as possible.

What We Analyze

Your tax rates are a very broad area of review when it comes to your income and deductions. Further areas we then analyze are opportunities for Roth conversions, itemized vs. standard deduction options, Medicare Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) surcharge brackets, and other credits and deductions as well as the income phaseouts for each.

It is also important to note that tax planning is not always about decreasing the taxes paid in any given year. It is about using the current tax laws efficiently and alleviating potential pitfalls that can arise in future years. Planning ahead sometimes means paying additional taxes now in a potentially lower bracket to set up your potential savings in the years still to come.

If you have not already sent us a copy of your 2021 tax return, please do so. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the various areas of review and planning opportunities at your next meeting.