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Was your 2007 Tax bill too high?

April 16th, 2008 at 09:11 pm

Yesterday was the deadline to pay your 2007 taxes. If you are like most people, you probably feel that you paid too much. If so, now is the time to identify ways to lower your 2008 taxes. Every dollar of reduced taxes can be used to help fund educational or retirement expenses.

In Financial Abundance Guide I devote almost 100 pages to strategies for reducing your taxes. To demonstrate that I “eat my own cooking,” I will describe the approaches to tax reduction that my wife and I used in 2007. In parentheses I will put the page of my book on which the referenced strategy can be found.

1. In spite of receiving significant long term capital gains in 2007, we reported gains of less than $1,000 on our tax return. This was accomplished by keeping most of our equity holdings in our IRA or Roth IRA retirement accounts (pages 125 -126).

2. We were able to deduct $7,250 by fully funding our Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in 2007. Since my wife and I are both over age 55, by setting up separate HSAs, we could each deduct an additional $800 over the normal family deduction of $5,650 (pages 63-66). In 2008, we will be able to contribute (and deduct) a total of $7,600 into our HSAs.

3. Thanks to the expenses involved in writing, publishing and marketing my book in 2007, I had virtually no earned income. However, my wife had more than adequate income to allow for me to fund my IRA as a “spousal IRA” and receive a deduction of $5,000 (page 44-45). Since our AGI was under $159,000 my wife contributed $5,000 to a Roth IRA, even though she was covered by a company sponsored retirement plan (pages 46-47).

4. Our itemized deductions included a $10,000 gift to our “Donor Advised Fund” charitable giving account (pages 81-83). This was a gift of highly appreciated stock that we bought for $4,000 in 1999. By giving the stock to our charitable fund, the $6,000 capital gain was completely tax free, saving us from paying $900 in capital gains taxes (page 80-81).

5. Our daughter, in her third year of college, had tuition bills exceeding $8,000 in 2007. Thanks to the Lifetime Learning Credit, we received a $1,600 tax credit against actual taxes owed (page 38-39).

6. After all deductions and credits, our tax bill would have been $0. Knowing this was likely, I ran a pro forma tax return in early December. I determined that we could convert a significant amount of our IRA savings into a Roth IRA, and pay very little in taxes (pages 48-50). In December 2007, we converted $55,000 of IRA funds to Roth IRA funds. The total tax bill for this conversion was $2,605 for an effective tax rate of 4.7%. These funds can grow on a tax free basis for as long as we live. If we are able to leave an inheritance for our children, inherited Roth funds can continue to grow tax free for our children (page 176-177).

Minimize your taxes is Step 3 of the 7 Steps to Financial Abundance. As I have demonstrated, active tax management can substantially increase your financial abundance. The next time that you are trying to maximize you investment returns, take a few minutes to consider methods of minimizing your taxes. The time spent may provide an “investment return” that far exceeds your expectations.

1 Responses to “Was your 2007 Tax bill too high?”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Number six on your list reminds me of when my husband was receiving combat pay...so we virtually owed nothing...even qualified for the earned income credit. We converted one of his 401k rollovers that year to a Roth and paid virtually no tax!! I'm sure we'll do it again on some more funds, should he be deployed again.

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