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A better approach to taxing gains?

April 22, 2012

Late last year, I attended a hearing of the congressional Joint Committee of Taxation on the taxation of financial products. One of the four speakers testifying that day was attorney David S. Miller, who put forth the idea that really rich people...

What lurks in the president's budget

February 19, 2012

With the big exception of dividends, President Barack Obama's 2013 budget looks very much like his 2012 budget. In fact, many of the tax changes affecting individuals that were proposed in the 2012 budget and not enacted show up again in the...

Last chance to double up on losses

November 20, 2011

A core principle of managing portfolios for tax efficiency is disciplined loss harvesting. And one of the most popular loss-harvesting techniques is doubling up, which allows investors to harvest losses effectively while sticking to a particular...

Top marginal tax rates may skyrocket

October 23, 2011

The latest news from Washington isn't good. The political winds have shifted and “millionaires” now are expected to shoulder much of the burden of balancing the budget. The recently proposed 5.6% surtax on those with the highest income,...

Last chance to re-characterize

September 25, 2011

Much has been written about the opportunity to undo, or re-characterize, a Roth IRA conversion if the assets in the account depreciate. In fact, we have recommended converting early in the year to maximize this look-back period and noted that...

Are your clients traders or investors?

July 24, 2011

Under U.S. tax law, investment expenses are considered miscellaneous itemized deductions. But these so-called Section 212 deductions are limited, and the limits result in most investors' not being able to deduct investment expenses such as management...

The complexity of ETF options

June 19, 2011

As they do with stocks, investors have the opportunity to trade listed options on many exchange-traded funds. You would think, therefore, that the taxation of gains and losses on ETF options should be straightforward. It isn't. Publicly traded...

What lurks in some foreign ETFs

May 22, 2011

The latest wrinkle in the world of exchange-traded funds is a fund that is a foreign company. The rush to silver, for example, spawned the creation of the Sprott Physical Silver Trust Ticker:(PSLV), which is a Canadian corporation. Because the...

The best way to own master LPs

April 24, 2011

Master limited partnerships are legal entities that trade on an exchange but are not corporations. As partnerships, they pay no tax themselves; an MLP's partners/owners are allocated the profits or losses of the entity through the issuance of...

Surprises in state income taxes

March 27, 2011

State taxes don't always follow the same rules used in calculating federal income taxes. This can cause problems for taxpayers in general, and investors in particular. I was surprised to learn how different state and federal taxes are when I...

Would you like to do the contango?

February 27, 2011

As we discussed last month, futures-based ETFs may generate considerable tax-related confusion. And as I learned from financial advisers since that column appeared, there is also considerable confusion about how commodities-futures-based exchange-traded...

Commodities ETFs can be taxing

January 30, 2011

The K-1s are coming! The K-1s are coming! Investors in hedge funds and limited partnerships are used to receiving these forms, which reflect an investor's proportionate share of a partnership's taxable income or loss. But this year, some investors...

How to start the year off right

January 2, 2011

Here are four timely tax-related rules that advisers should note: Cost basis reporting. Brokerage firms are required to keep track of an investor's cost basis in any shares purchased after Jan. 1. When the securities are sold, the broker will...

IRS ruling likely to nix options tactic

November 28, 2010

In light of a recent IRS decision that took some by surprise, there's one options strategy we're not likely to see anymore. The strategy involved a contract between a British investment bank and a U.S. hedge fund that both parties documented...

Strategies to use if taxes rise next year

November 7, 2010

There are multiple strategies that can be employed once we know what will happen with taxes in 2011. In my last column, I discussed selling taxable bonds late in the year to realize the accrued interest this year versus next. I also explored...

What if the 2011 tax rate is set late?

October 3, 2010

It is likely that nothing will be known about the tax rate for 2011 until after the November elections. History shows us that if everyone knows that taxes are going up, taxpayers will employ strategies to accelerate income into this year. When...

When hedging constitutes a sale

September 5, 2010

In two cases involving the hedging of appreciated stock positions, the U.S. Tax Court recently ruled that the investors who took the cases to court should be taxed as if they had sold their stock at the time that they entered into the hedging...

What a difference a REIT makes

August 8, 2010

Sometime this year, Weyerhaeuser Co. Ticker:(WY) will transform itself from a C corporation into a real estate investment trust. There is good news and bad news in the conversion. First, the bad news: Whoever owned the company's shares July...

From the Tax Expert: Why you should sell Weyerhaeuser today

July 19, 2010

Most taxable investors who wish to continue to hold shares of Weyerhaeuser Co. Ticker:(WY) should probably sell today and buy it back again tomorrow after the stock has gone ex-dividend. Last Monday, the company declared a special dividend of...

More options taxation oddities

May 30, 2010

My recent column on the taxation of listed options on SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) seems to have struck a nerve. Many practitioners were incredulous. How, they asked, could the option on a security possibly be taxed more favorably than the underlying...

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