Tax Planning

Paying taxes could be your largest expense in retirement. Shouldn’t you have an expert to guide you?

We use our diverse tax and legal background to provide portfolio management integrated with your tax, financial, and estate plans. And when you really think about it, taxes could be your highest expense in retirement. So, integrating portfolios and lifetime tax planning makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?


Listen to Debbie discuss “The Five Tax Gotchas”

We are part of a nationally ranked firm (Barron’s 12th ranked firm in the country), led by an award-winning wealth advisor, Debra Taylor CPA/PFS™ , JD and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®). Much of our specialized work is so cutting-edge that we are nationally recognized for our portfolio management and lifetime tax planning on behalf of our clients. Indeed, our founder, Debra Taylor, is a nationally known speaker and expert on tax planning and portfolios, having authored over 400 articles.


In particular, we assist clients with proactive tax planning when preparing for retirement (or in the distribution phase of retirement). We provide annual tax projections that look out over your lifetime and identify the income tax and estate tax challenges that lie ahead. Then we design your portfolio and consider a number of tax-saving strategies, which often include distribution planning on IRA’s and tactical Roth conversions each year. We then devise optimal tax strategies to minimize lifetime taxes and maximize wealth in retirement for you and your family. The lifetime tax savings could amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for you and your family.

Our Specializations

Tax Planning

Our proactive tax planning will be different from anything else that you have experienced. In fact, we practically wrote the book on how to deliver these services. We provide ongoing tax planning throughout the year, projecting out your lifetime taxes, and creating strategies for minimizing your tax obligation for years to come while maximizing portfolio values.

Estate Planning

We work in tandem with estate planning counsel to ensure your estate plan is appropriate and coordinated with your tax and financial plan. Our deep tax knowledge and customized financial planning augment your estate plan to limit taxes, and ensure that your assets get to the right people.

Team Approach

Our curated financial planning goes beyond the typical “in office” team approach. Our team extends beyond the confines of our office — we have developed relationships with vetted professionals and collaborate with them frequently — always doing so, in an attempt to simplify the complex for our clients and strive for the best results for you and your family.

Proactive Approach

Planning for Efficiency

Financial planning and tax efficiency go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re looking to properly save for retirement, help improve your income tax situation or want help with your business taxes – we can create a customized plan for you.

Understanding the tax consequences related to your individual investments
Maximizing your retirement plan savings under current tax law
Evaluating business structure to optimize the benefits of the Internal Revenue code
Focusing on opportunities unique to your individual business or industry

How is My Tax Situation Different After the Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?

Answered by Jamie Hopkins, Esq., LLM, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®, Director of Retirement Research

Answered by Jamie Hopkins, Esq., LLM, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®, Director of Retirement Research

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the single largest tax reform legislation passed in the last 30 years. It changes tax laws that impact retirement planning, mortgages, corporation, partnerships, small-business owners and even state taxes to some degree.

While the TCJA was passed and signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, 2018 was the first year it really hit home for personal income taxes. As you gear up to file your taxes before April 15, 2019, you might be surprised to find many popular tax deductions are either significantly smaller or eliminated altogether.Let’s look at three popular tax deductions that are changing for your 2018 tax filing.

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

While the tax code does not generally allow individuals to deduct personal interest expenses, there is an exception for your home mortgage interest. Prior to 2018, you could deduct interest paid on up to the first $1 million of a mortgage used to acquire or substantially improve your home. Additionally, you could deduct interest paid on the first $100,000 of a mortgage that was used for any other purpose — known as “home equity indebtedness” — like to pay off credit card debt, cash out equity or for college expenses.

Starting in 2018, you can no longer deduct home equity indebtedness interest. There is no grandfathering and really no way to change this debt. Even if you refinance home equity indebtedness into another mortgage, the non-deductibility follows it. The deductibility of the interest really does go to how you used the loan.

If your mortgage was used for anything other than substantially improving the property or purchasing the home, it is no longer deductible. Furthermore, new mortgages issued after Dec. 15, 2017*, that are treated as home acquisition indebtedness now have a cap on the interest deduction for interest paid on the first $750,000 of debt.

However, prior acquisition indebtedness mortgages are grandfathered in under the $1 million limit. Additionally, any mortgage interest deduction requires that the taxpayer itemize their deductions.

2. State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT)

Many states charge state income taxes. In the past, you could deduct almost any state or local income taxes paid from your federal taxes to help reduce your tax burden. However, the TCJA made significant changes to the deductibility of your state and local taxes.

Now, in 2018, filers are capped at $10,000 per year total for state and local income taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. Single filers have a maximum deduction of $10,000 for SALTs — and so do those married filing jointly!

The SALT deduction limit of $10,000 hits those in high-income tax states the most — states like New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Even if you live in a low-income tax state, you could lose a significant deduction if you have a lot of property. If you have big estates, lots of land or acres, you could see this tax deduction severely curtailed by the new cap. Just like with the mortgage interest deduction, you need to itemize to benefit from the deduction.

3. Charitable Contributions

While charitable contributions were not removed by the TCJA, far fewer Americans will be able to take advantage of them in 2018. In order to deduct charitable contributions, you need to itemize. The number of tax filers who will itemize for 2018 is expected to drop dramatically.

But this isn’t all bad news. One reason itemizing at the federal level is dropping in 2018 is due to both reduced deductions and standard deduction almost doubling. In 2018, the standard deduction for a single filer is $12,000 and for married filing jointly is $24,000 — nearly double the standard deduction in 2017.

As such, far fewer individuals will have itemized expenses taking them above the standard deduction, meaning many people will not be able to deduct their charitable contributions. Keep in mind that there are some strategies to maximize your tax deductions for your charitable contributions, including bunching contributions and donor advised funds.

Whether you end up paying more or less in taxes in 2018 really depends on your situation. If you relied heavily on these popular itemized tax deductions in the past, your taxes could go up. Overall, most people will end up seeing a slight decrease in taxes thanks to the increased standard deduction — even though we said goodbye to some big deductions.

* Note that there’s an exception/grandfather clause for mortgages where there’s a binding contract before Dec. 15, 2017, to close before Jan. 1, 2018, and the purchase is complete by April 1, 2018

This article originally appeared in Kiplinger

This is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC does not provide legal or tax advice.