A Taxing Investment

April 15 - The most dreaded day of the year is right around the corner. Are you ready? Some of the most neglected (and misunderstood) tax issues are those related to your investments. If you invest with taxes in mind, you can avoid a nasty surprise when Uncle Sam comes to collect.

The tax advisors are chiming in left and right on this issue. They say that you should limit yourself - and your investments - in order to minimize your tax burden for the immediate future. Those in the high tax brackets should go mainly for retirement accounts (as in tax deferred investments) and tax free investments, and those in the lower brackets should feel free to invest as they see fit. I'm sorry, but I don't necessarily agree with their synopsis.

Dividends, interest, and short term capital gains from your investments are all taxable at your standard income tax rate. Long term capital gains (that is - those coming from investments that you have held for over a year) are taxable at a lower rate. It would make sense then, for someone in a higher bracket (and thus paying a larger percentage of his or her dollar to the government) to focus primarily on limiting these types of income, and for those in lower brackets to go crazy with them, since they're not losing as much money.

Tax deferred retirement accounts, such as your IRA, 401k, or other retirement account, allow you to contribute a specific amount of money each year to your retirement. This amount is deductible from your income. That's not to say that these retirement accounts are tax free - far from it. These accounts are tax deferred, which means that you do pay taxes, though not until you take the money out. This offers the advantage of reinvesting your yields before taxes, which if done well can end up making you more money, but the fact remains that when you do access those accounts, the going tax rate may be less favorable than it is today.

Tax free investments do exist - to some extent. Municipal bonds and certain money market accounts can be tax free, however, you should always make sure that you deeply understand the taxing situation on these instruments before you actually put your money into them. In some, federal taxes or state taxes (or in some cases local income taxes) may be waived, but one doesn't imply the other, and the last thing you want is the surprise that you do owe taxes on a supposedly tax free investment.

If your portfolio has taken a little drive over the past year, you may find some solace in the fact that you can write off some of your losses. Up to $3,000 in fact. After three grand, you'll have to carry over your losses each year. This can result in a ton of paperwork, so make sure that the assessed tax difference will make up for the extra effort these filings would take.

Also make sure that you don't mix and match tax-beneficial instruments. You shouldn't put municipal bonds or tax free money market accounts in your IRA, for example. Since they're both tax free, you can end up losing out on the tax break the other provides. It's typically a better idea to use these instruments in conjunction with your regular assets. This is one of the points that I agree with the tax experts on. It just makes sense.

But I just don't agree with their investment strategy, as I mentioned before. It's all well and good to keep your taxes in mind when you're planning your investments out - and it's essential when planning for retirement - however, I just can't justify their methods. If you have had a good year financially, and find yourself in a higher tax bracket, chances are that you have a pretty nice retirement plan already. For someone making six figures, the ceiling on retirement contributions is just not enough money to be their primary focus of investment attention. If you know what you're doing, you will make money. I would much rather make money that taxed at 99% than not make a cent. It just doesn't make much sense to say that you wont invest outside your retirement account, just because you don't want it to be taxed.

Of course, if you're in a lower tax bracket, the experts recommend that you go ahead and invest in taxable securities, since your tax rate is less than, say, Bill Gates. I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. It's pretty unnecessary for someone in a lower bracket to focus on taxable accounts alone. Actually, it's probably more important for you to pour money into your retirement accounts. With the battles going on in Washington over the "social security crisis" (which we'll touch upon next month), the best way to secure your future is to actively invest in it. If you're an active investor, splitting your investment allocated income fifty/fifty for your retirement and taxable investment accounts isn't out of line. If you don't invest very actively, and you don't think you'll need access to your retirement money, don't think twice about putting the majority of it in a tax deferred retirement account.

Essentially, my point is that your investment decisions shouldn't be held back in fear of your tax burden. If you can balance the two out, you might just find that it does make sense (and hopefully, you'll turn out more financially fit than you were before). A whole new tax year awaits, and we're ready for it.

Jonas Elmerraji is the founder and editor of growFolio, the world's first free online investment and business magazine. Issues are available online at http://www.growfolio.com

In The News:

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Govt panel gets time till Monday to submit direct tax code report  LivemintThe panel, led by CBDT member Akhilesh Ranjan, was earlier required to submit its recommendations on Friday.The new direct tax code will try to simplify tax ...
Govt gives businesses four months to settle indirect tax disputes  LivemintNEW DELHI : Businesses can now settle their pending disputes relating to central excise duty and *service* tax within four months starting 1 September under the ...
Trump flip-flops on tax cuts, saying US has 'strong economy'  Economic TimesTrump also knocked down the idea of indexing to the capital gains tax, which applies when investors sell assets, to inflation.
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Time the policy of taxing intermediary services is remedied  BusinessLineLevying GST on back-end services provided to overseas customers will make Indian exports uncompetitive.
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Will a new direct tax law push up compliance?  LivemintNumerous amendments over five decades, as well as the influence of case laws, often made it difficult to interpret the rules.Mint takes a look at what the new ...
How a Totally Hypothetical Payroll Tax Cut Would Impact Your Paycheck  Lifehacker AustraliaFor a portion of this calendar week, President Donald Trump considered cutting payroll taxes. “I've been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time,” he told ...
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Direct tax committee calls for major changes to reassessment rules  Business StandardThe government-constituted task force for re-writing the direct tax legislation has suggested major changes in provisions for reopening and reassessment, in a ...
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Israel agrees to withhold less Palestinian tax money  Aljazeera.comAccord allows Palestinian Authority to collect fuel tax directly, but only partially resolves its financial crisis.
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Small startups with turnover up to Rs 25Cr to get promised tax holiday: CBDT  YourStoryIn a statement, the CBDT stated that startups will continue to receive the tax holiday as specified in the Section 80-IAC of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
ITR forms with pre-filled investment data soon  Economic TimesPre-filled forms will soon be able to pick salary breakup directly from an individuals Form 16.
Policy | Put an end to tax terrorism  Moneycontrol.comAbhijit Kumar Dutta. The unfortunate death of Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha last month has left an unlikely sufferer — the income tax department.
DTC panel's proposals may focus on cleaning up, making tax code more efficient, says A Prasanna  MoneycontrolThe focus of the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) panel, which has submitted its recommendations to finance minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman, is likely to be on ...
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Donald Trump considers tax cuts to stimulate economy  Financial TimesDonald Trump, the US president, said he was exploring a range of options for new tax cuts to stimulate the economy, revealing the administration's fears of a ...
Trump Says He Has Authority to Reduce Capital Gains Taxes  The New York TimesWASHINGTON — President Trump said on Tuesday that he was considering giving investors a big tax cut that would primarily benefit the rich, and that he ...
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Sticks, carrots and tax evasion | Comment  www.ekathimerini.comOnce again, we are faced with the usual revelations of widespread tax evasion in popular summer destinations. It has been recorded in restaurants, clubs and ...
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DTC panel suggests radical changes in income tax  Deccan HeraldIncome tax rates for individual tax payers will be much lower, surcharges on income will be a thing of the past and companies will not have to pay taxes on the ...
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Amazon is under scrutiny for not paying federal income taxes. Here's how it got its tax burden down to less than $0.  Business InsiderAmazon recorded a net federal tax credit for 2017 and 2018 and the company has paid a low tax rate for years. Here's how it did it.
Win A Ferrari Portofino, Taxes Paid For, Plus $20,000 In The Trunk  Motor1.comMotor1.com and Omaze are giving you the chance to win a brand new Ferrari Portofino with $20000 in the trunk.
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Tax overreach is becoming the norm  BusinessLineGoing beyond Cafe Coffee Day, I-T officers must learn to handle high-value cases with tact, before taking extreme steps.
What is Direct Tax Code? Report likely today  LivemintThe new direct tax code will try to make personal income tax rates more 'progressive'.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year told tax officials that the old ...
Jammu traders demand extension of deadline for filing income tax, GST returns  India TodayCity-based traders' body Monday demanded an extension of deadline for filing income tax and GST returns as internet and other communication channels are ...
Finance Ministry to cut tax on prize post PM nudge  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: The Finance Ministry has withdrawn the tax exemption it had granted to the cash prize of Rs 1.3 crore received through the Seoul Peace Prize by ...
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'Woo Private Sector, Keep Corporate Tax At 10%'  BW BusinessworldToday, the private sector feels harassed. They, instead, need to be wooed. So many people are going abroad. Create incentives for them. Corporate taxes ...
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All tax letters, notices to carry identification numbers to be verifiable online from Oct 1, 2019  Economic TimesStarting October 1, 2019, all letters and notices from the income tax department will carry a computer-generated Document Identification Number (DIN) which will ...
Freedom from tax burden for angel funds  Economic TimesExemption from angel tax even if assessment order was passed before February 19.
Madison County business owner charged with multi-million dollar tax evasion  KMOV.comA Madison County business owner is accused of tax evasion.
10 salary components that can help employees reduce tax burden  Economic TimesYour salary structure consists of several components which can help you reduce your tax burden. While some of these components are fully or partially taxable, ...
Retain tax sops for genuine R&D  Economic TimesEven as the Direct Tax Code's call to prune tax exemptions is unexceptionable, it would be sensible to retain those for research and development (R&D).
Income tax notices without a unique ID will soon be treated invalid. 5 points  LivemintThe new rules for issuance of income tax notices with unique IDs will come into effect from October.At present, some notices are issued manually without any id ...
Red Meat Could Be the Next Sin Tax After Sugar, Fitch Says  BloombergMeat could be a target for higher taxes given criticism of the industry's role in climate change, deforestation and animal cruelty, according to a report by Fitch ...
10 reasons why you may get a notice from the income tax department  Economic TimesYou may anytime come under the taxman's lens. Here are 10 reasons taxpayers can get an income tax notice.
ITR Filing 2019: 5 incomes you must not miss to report in your Income Tax Return for AY 2019-20  The Financial ExpressIt is advisable to be extra careful while filing income tax return this year as even a small mistake can result in the issue of a notice from the Income Tax ...
Tax notices to soon carry an identification number  LivemintDIN is likely to improve transparency and bring down the processing time of notices.DIN won't be limited to new tax notices. It will also be issued to all the ...
Still hopeful of govt lowering 18% tax on biscuits costing less than Rs 100 a kg: Mayank Shah, Parle Products  Economic TimesNow with the honourable prime minister stepping in, we are very hopeful that there would be immediate action on the GST slab for biscuits below Rs 100 per kg.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman's next stop to assess tax situation to be Varanasi  Economic TimesSitharaman is keen on gaining ground-level feedback from both tax officers and taxpayers.
Don’t leave your spouse with a massive tax bill when you die  MarketWatchIf you are wealthy enough to be exposed to the federal estate tax, you can usually minimize it or even avoid it entirely with some advance planning.
ITR filing: TDS related queries answered by income tax department  Economic TimesAt the time of filing your income tax return (ITR) it is important to ensure that all TDS-related details are correctly filed in the form. Consequently, questions ...
Famed Brooklyn pizzeria Di Fara is back open for business  New York Post The iconic Brooklyn pizza joint reopened Thursday — after owners of the 54-year-old legendary eatery said they worked out a payment plan to settle an unpaid ...
Do All Seniors Pay Taxes on Their Social Security Benefits?  The Motley FoolWhether you'll be taxed on your benefits in retirement depends on where you live and what your total income looks like.
Pension tax crisis: reform needs to be swift to tackle doctors' sense of injustice  The BMJBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5195 (Published 22 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5195. Article; Related *content*; Metrics; Responses ...
Have you filed your income tax return correctly? Find out  Economic TimesHere's a short quiz to help you understand if you are on the right track to file your income tax return.
Using tax money to bail out a slowing economy is antithetic to market economy: CEA Subramanian  MoneycontrolSubramanian also said that the possibility of a situation where profits are private and losses are socialised is an anathema to the way a market economy ...
Amazon is passing along costs of a new digital tax to thousands of French sellers  CNBCAmazon is raising seller fees for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in France because of a new digital tax passed by the French government.
IRS begins tax clampdown on unreported cryptocurrency profits  ZDNetIf you've been trading but not declaring, the tax *service* might be on your case.
How Jeremy Corbyn’s house sale plans would hike taxes and cost billions - REVEALED  Express.co.ukJEREMY CORBYN'S plan to revolutionise domestic property sales have has been branded a 'complete flop', which experts warned would pile huge taxes onto ...
Income Tax Department conducts searches at Oberoi Realty, Capacite Infra  MoneycontrolConfirming the development, a senior official of the I-T Department told Moneycontrol there was suspicion on related party transaction within Oberoi and also of ...
HC declines interim stay on transfer of income tax case against Karti Chidambaram to special court  Economic TimesCHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused the plea of Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his wife for interim stay on the transfer of an income ...
Online platforms, CAs arent responsible for wrong income-tax filing  Business StandardFor filing income-tax (I-T) returns this year, say, you take services of an online tech platform. The platform makes a mistake, which doesn't catch your attention at ...
Should turning 65 exempt you from paying property taxes? This proposal would  AZCentralAn initiative makes the case that Arizonans should qualify for tax relief not by class or income but solely by age. If only backers had a good case.
Can children’s school fees paid by the employer be claimed for tax deduction?  MoneycontrolStrictly speaking, since the fee has been paid by the employer, it does not satisfy the condition of 'paid by the individual' and hence should not qualify for a ...
Textile companies seek tax incentives, DBT for farmers  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: Indian textile and clothing industry players say one-third of their production capacity is lying idle due to sluggish exports, poor domestic demand, ...
These Portfolio Tracking Tools Will Also Prepare Your Crypto Taxes  Bitcoin NewsTax season is months away, which is why you need to start preparing for it now. Leave everything to the last minute and you'll only end up cursing your.
Palestinians say Israel agreed to partial payment of overdue taxes  The Times of IsraelPA minister says Ramallah exempt from paying fuel tax under NIS 2 billion agreement reached in bid to ease severe economic crisis.
Income Tax raids on Oberoi Realty group, its vendor Capacit’e Infraprojects  Economic TimesMUMBAI: The Income Tax (I-T) Department on Tuesday carried out searches at Oberoi Realty group and its biggest vendor Capacit'e Infraprojects for suspicious ...
This is exactly how much a payroll-tax cut would help the average American  MarketWatchA simulation by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center explored tax measures that could help mitigate the effects of a recession.
‘It’s going to be tough’: House Democrats appear less likely to get Trump’s tax returns before 2020 election  The Washington PostHouse Democrats appear increasingly unlikely to secure President Trump's tax returns before the 2020 presidential election, according to interviews with legal ...
Higher tax surcharge on super-rich: FPI lobby sends wishlist to government  MoneycontrolWith the issue of higher tax surcharge proving to be a thorn, a lobby of FPIs has urged the government to use information on beneficiaries to identify them and ...
Yes, cut payroll taxes to help low-income workers  Washington ExaminerIt came to be known as Mitt Romney's greatest error. During his 2012 run for president, the man now serving as Utah's junior senator remarked at a closed-door ...
IRS Warnings to Bitcoin Traders Offer Clues to Coming Tax Guidance  CoinDeskThe Takeaway: The IRS' recent warning letters to 10,000 traders offer hints at what its forthcoming guidance on crypto taxes might say. While the letters are not ...
Don’t Ban Assault Weapons—Tax Them  The AtlanticThe nation is debating what to do about assault-style weapons, what gun-rights advocates like to call modern sporting rifles. Gun-rights champions argue that ...
How to show your trading and F&O income in the tax returns?  BusinessLineBL Research BureauFor traders, aside from predicting the stock market, reporting income from intra-day trading or Futures & Options (F&O) in the tax ...
Senior Citizen Day: TDS and other tax benefits available exclusively to senior citizens  The Financial ExpressFor income tax purpose, a senior citizen is an individual resident in India who is of the age of sixty years or more at any time during the relevant previous year.
Tax terrorism: Embedded in laws & practice  Business StandardRead more about Tax terrorism: Embedded in laws & practice on Business Standard. Blaming tax officials will not help us get to the root of the issue.
Facebook, Amazon and Google call French digital tax discriminatory and retroactive  FirstpostThe proposed three percent tax on total annual revenues of companies that provide services to French consumers applies only to the largest tech companies.
How to get the most from this tax-free source of retirement income  CNBCRoth IRAs and Roth 401(k) plans aren't your only sources of tax-free income in retirement. Say hello to so-called permanent life insurance — a policy with an ...
House Democrats say whistleblower bolsters case for getting Trump's tax returns  POLITICOA whistleblower recently made “credible allegations” to the Ways and Means Committee of potentially wrongful interference with the IRS' presidential audit ...
Modi government is relying on cesses to collect tax revenue. What does this mean for federalism?  Scroll.inThe Indian government is facing a serious crisis when it comes to its finances. This is the second in a two-part series that takes an in-depth look at the problem.
Apple Subsidiary Illegally Charged Illinois Tax, Boutique Says  Bloomberg TaxA subsidiary of Apple Inc. illegally charged customers more than $5 million in Illinois sales tax on software, a Chicago boutique alleged in a federal class action ...
Norway's Telenor hit by tax reassessment expense of 2.5 billion Norwegian crowns  EuronewsOSLO (Reuters) – Norway's Telenor received a tax reassessment order for its 2013 tax year, under which it will need to record an additional tax expense of ...
Madras HC rejects Karti Chidambaram's plea in tax evasion case  India TodayThe Madras High Court on Wednesday rejected Karti Chidambaram's plea seeking an interim stay in income tax evasion case. Karti and his wife are in the dock ...
Walmart sues Beaver Dam to lower tax bill despite $6.18 million incentive from city  Madison.comWalmart is seeking to reduce its city of Beaver Dam tax bill, despite the fact the city provided $6.18 million to the business for locating its distribution center in the.
Added Import Taxes in USA will Only Help Samsung, Tim Cook tells Donald Trump  News18US President Donald Trump has praised Apple CEO Tim Cook for "making a good case" that tariffs on China will help Samsung gain more as it is based in South ...
You might need to maintain tax returns records for seven years  LivemintIn today's digital age, income tax records can be maintained at little or no expense for long periods of time in a digital format. However, it is important to know the ...
Opinion | Let the system tell you your capital gains tax  LivemintA government plan to pre-fill income tax return forms online with details of your capital gains could ease your compliance burden. In time, its coverage could ...
Trump sues over California law forcing candidates to turn over tax returns  CNNPresident Donald Trump sued California Tuesday challenging a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before they can ...

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