I’m seeing plenty of articles and even hearing casually, at various gatherings, that many folks are being surprised this year by the income taxes they will be owing. I consider this an unnecessary surprise. While its true that a tax law was enacted that affected 2018 taxes, there was sufficient time before year end to consider it’s effect on your personal tax situation. No large stock, business, real estate or charitable transaction was completed in 2018 by sophisticated players, without consideration of the resulting taxes. The same should be true of all of us. Gains, losses and income in investment portfolios should be reviewed as they occur, the tax effects of selling real estate should be part of the price negotiation of the affected party, and the desirability of tax benefits should enter into decisions about charitable gift planning. “What if” and ”before and after” analysis should be part any financial plan as it unfolds during the year. A surprise at tax time should not be part of the plan.
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