You may have heard the saying that “it’s not what you make but what you keep that matters.” Whether it’s your salary, business income or investment returns, taxes can eat up a lot of income and leave you with less money to spend. At Steward Advisors, not only do we work hard to achieve good investment returns, we integrate tax planning into our investment decisions so that you can keep more of your investment returns.
Tax planning, as part of a comprehensive financial plan, is the process of arranging your finances in ways that postpone, minimize or avoid taxes. Based on your lifetime goals and financial plan, having a view of your long-term plans can be especially helpful in taking advantage of beneficial tax-law provisions, using tax deductions and tax credits to maximize your after tax portfolio returns.
Here are items we manage throughout the year to ensure we are taking advantage of all tax planning benefits.
Tax Return Review
Using our proprietary tax tool, we review your tax return to make sure your portfolio and financial plan are in sync with your tax strategy. Analyzing your tax return helps us find opportunities to capture tax credits and deductions, and to manage your portfolio income and assets to avoid unnecessary taxes.
Using our tax tool, we can project your tax liability for the current year and future years. These projections allow us to evaluate strategies to minimize taxes while you still have time to implement the strategies.
Tax Loss Harvesting
This strategy allows us to continuously review all investments to reduce overall tax burden by realizing losses of underperforming investments while keeping your portfolio fully diversified. Investment losses can be used to offset other gains in your portfolio thereby reducing overall taxable income.
Tax Gain Harvesting
Tax gain harvesting allows us to realign gains in years where you won’t have to pay tax on those gains. This also provides flexibility for re-balancing your portfolio in the future while minimizing taxes.
Roth accounts provide tax free growth of your portfolio. Each year we evaluate your tax situation to determine whether a Roth conversion to move funds into a tax free account is advisable. As part of the financial plan, we can identify the years where you will be in a lower tax bracket and it makes more sense to do a Roth conversion. We use unique tools to model your financial situation over many years to identify the best years to do Roth conversions.
By modeling your estimated taxes, we identify opportunities to maximize the tax benefit of your charitable giving. These types of strategies include using a Donor Advised fund to bunch multiple years’ donations into a single year as well as using appreciated assets for charitable gifts.
Qualified Charitable Distributions
You may be able to benefit from your charitable giving even if you don’t itemize by making donations from your IRA. If you are taking RMDs, you may be able to benefit from charitable giving even if you don't itemize deductions. Recent changes to the tax laws allow for Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRA’s to count toward Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) but not counted as income.
We review and advise IRA contribution alternatives to maximize tax deductions and tax-deferred portfolio growth. By funding traditional IRAs in high-income years where there is a higher tax rate, you can improve your long-term financial success.
Optimize Source of Distributions
When you need money from your accounts, where you take distributions might have a big impact on how much of those distributions you get to keep. We review your financial plan and look at upcoming years to decide where to take income to reduce taxes and optimize the long term growth of your portfolio. Based on your specific tax situation, we will recommend the combination of distributions from taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free accounts that will optimize your long-term financial success.
If you would like a complimentary review of your portfolio to determine whether you are taking advantage of tax planning benefits feel free to contact us today.