Whether you structured your portfolio to emphasize income over growth — or vice versa, or perhaps a balance of the two — will have a substantial impact on your tax liability. One benefit of dividends is that they may qualify for preferential long-term capital gains tax rates. Qualified dividends must meet two requirements. First, the dividends must be paid by a U. Second, the stock must be held for at least 61 days during the day period that starts 60 days before the ex-dividend date and ends 60 days after that date.
The ex-dividend date is the cutoff date for declared dividends. One disadvantage of dividend-paying stocks or mutual funds that invest in dividend-paying stocks is that they accelerate taxes. When you invest in growth stocks or mutual funds that invest in growth stocks , you generally have greater control over the timing of the tax bite. These companies tend to reinvest their profits in the companies rather than pay them out as dividends, so taxes on the appreciation in value are deferred until you sell the stock. Regardless of your investment approach, you need to understand the tax implications of various investments so you can make informed decisions.
You should also keep an eye on Congress. Contact our firm for the latest news and to discuss your tax and investment strategies. There are many factors to consider, both tax and nontax. Some investors seek dividends because they need the current income or they believe that companies with a history of paying healthy dividends are better managed. Others prefer to defer taxes by investing in growth stocks. When preparing to file your taxes, take a moment to identify your objectives and determine if you met them or fell short.
Your deduction depends on more than just the actual amount you donate. Cash or ordinary-income property. You may deduct the amount of gifts made by check, credit card or payroll deduction. For stocks and bonds held one year or less, inventory, and property subject to depreciation recapture, you generally may deduct only the lesser of fair market value or your tax basis.
Long-term capital gains property. You may deduct the current fair market value of appreciated stocks and bonds held for more than one year. Tangible personal property. Your deduction depends on the situation. Unless the vehicle is being used by the charity, you generally may deduct only the amount the charity receives when it sells the vehicle. Use of property or provision of services. Examples include use of a vacation home and a loan of artwork. When providing services, you may deduct only your out-of-pocket expenses, not the fair market value of your services.
You can deduct 14 cents per charitable mile driven. Also, your annual charitable deductions may be reduced if they exceed certain income-based limits. In addition, your deduction generally must be reduced by the value of any benefit received from the charity.
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Finally, various substantiation requirements apply, and the charity must be eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. For through , the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubles the standard deduction - plus, it limits or eliminates some common itemized deductions. Your charitable giving strategy may need to change in light of tax law reform or other factors. Constitution or federal law that prohibits multiple states from collecting tax on the same income. Although many states provide tax credits to prevent double taxation, those credits are sometimes unavailable.
If you maintain residences in more than one state, here are some points to keep in mind. Residence, on the other hand, is based on the amount of time you spend in a state. Suppose you live in State A and work in State B. Given the length of your commute, you keep an apartment in State B near your office and return to your home in State A only on weekends. State A taxes you as a domiciliary, while State B taxes you as a resident. Neither state offers a credit for taxes paid to another state, so your income is taxed twice.
One possible solution to such double taxation is to avoid maintaining a permanent place of abode in State B. This example illustrates just one way double taxation can arise when you divide your time between two or more states. Our firm can research applicable state law and identify ways to minimize exposure to unnecessary taxes.
But, when two states each claim you as a domiciliary, neither believes that taxes are properly due to the other. There are various ways to do so. You could also open bank accounts in the new state and use your new address for important financially related documents such as insurance policies, tax returns, passports and wills. Other effective measures may include registering to vote in the new jurisdiction, subscribing to local newspapers and seeing local health care providers. Bear in mind, of course, that laws regarding domicile vary from state to state.
Working from home has become commonplace for people in many jobs. Beginning with the tax year, fewer taxpayers will qualify for the home office deduction. For employees, home office expenses used to be a miscellaneous itemized deduction. If eligible, you have two options for claiming the home office deduction. First, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses, as well as the depreciation allocable to the office space. This requires calculating, allocating and substantiating actual expenses.
A second approach is to use the simplified option. For through , the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase. Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.
These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for through For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.
Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us. Are you considering transferring real estate, a family business or other assets you expect to appreciate dramatically in the future?
If so, an installment sale may be a viable option. Its benefits include the ability to freeze asset values for estate tax purposes and remove future appreciation from your taxable estate. Because the transaction is structured as a sale rather than a gift, your buyer must have the financial resources to buy the property. But by using an installment note, the buyer can make the payments over time. Ideally, the purchased property will generate enough income to fund these payments.
You can arrange for the payments to increase or decrease over time, or even provide for interest-only payments with an end-of-term balloon payment of the principal. Fortunately, you can spread this tax liability over the term of the installment note. IRS guidelines provide for a minimum rate of interest that must be paid on the note. On the bright side, any capital gains and ordinary income tax you pay further reduces the size of your taxable estate. An installment sale is an approach worth exploring for business owners, real estate investors and others who have gathered high-value assets.
It can help keep a family-owned business in the family or otherwise play an important role in your estate plan. Our firm can review your situation and help you determine whether an installment sale is a wise move for you. When is a loss actually a gain? When that loss becomes an opportunity to lower tax liability, of course.
You can use capital losses to offset any capital gains you realize in that same tax year — even if one is short term and the other is long term. With a little research, you might be able to identify a security in the same sector you like just as well as, or better than, the old one. You maintain your position in that sector or industry and might even add to your portfolio a stock you believe has more potential or less risk.
If you bought shares of a security at different times, give some thought to which lot can be sold most advantageously. The IRS allows investors to choose among several methods of designating lots when selling securities, and those methods sometimes produce radically different results. Investing always carries the risk that you will lose some or even all of your money.
But you have to take the good with the bad. In terms of tax planning, you can turn investment losses into opportunities — and potentially end the year on a high note. Smart timing of deductible expenses can reduce your tax liability, and poor timing can increase it unnecessarily. One deductible expense you may be able to control to your advantage is your property tax payment. You can prepay by December 31 property taxes that relate to the taxes must be assessed in but that are due in , and deduct the payment on your return for this year.
Also, beware of the dollar-amount limitation discussed below. Accelerating deductible expenses such as property tax payments is typically beneficial. Prepaying your property tax may be especially advantageous if your tax rate under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act TCJA is expected to decrease in the next year. Deductions save more tax when tax rates are higher. So, some taxpayers may not save any more by prepaying. Also, taxpayers who expect to substantially increase their income next year, pushing them into a higher tax bracket, may benefit by not prepaying their property tax bill.
This may affect your decision on whether to prepay. Not sure whether you should prepay your property tax bill or what other deductions you might be able to accelerate into or should consider deferring to ? Contact us. We can help you determine your optimal year-end tax planning strategies. When investing for retirement or other long-term goals, people usually prefer tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs, k s or b s. Certain assets are well suited to these accounts, but it may make more sense to hold other investments in traditional taxable accounts.
Some investments, such as fast-growing stocks, can generate substantial capital gains, which may occur when you sell a security for more than you paid for it. Conversely, investments that lack tax efficiency normally are best suited to tax-advantaged vehicles. Munis are attractive to tax-sensitive investors because their income is exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes state and local income taxes. Similarly, tax-efficient investments such as passively managed index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, or long-term stock holdings, are generally appropriate for taxable accounts.
These securities are more likely to generate long-term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. Securities that generate more of their total return via capital appreciation or that pay qualified dividends are also better taxable account options. What investments work best for tax-advantaged accounts?
Taxable investments that tend to produce much of their return in income. This category includes corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts REITs , which are required to pass through most of their earnings as shareholder income. Most REIT dividends are nonqualified and therefore taxed at your ordinary-income rate.
Another tax-advantaged-appropriate investment may be an actively managed mutual fund. Funds with significant turnover — meaning their portfolio managers are actively buying and selling securities — have increased potential to generate short-term gains that ultimately get passed through to you. Because short-term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains, these funds would be less desirable in a taxable account.
The above concepts are only general suggestions. Please contact our firm for specific advice on what may be best for you. These dividends are paid by U. These dividends — which include most distributions from real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — receive a less favorable tax treatment. Like short-term gains, nonqualified dividends are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate. Many people reach a point in life when buying some life insurance is highly advisable. Once you determine that you need it, the next step is calculating how much you should get and what kind.
If the coverage is to replace income and support your family, this starts with tallying the costs that would need to be covered, such as housing and transportation, child care, and education — and for how long. For many families, this will be only until the youngest children are on their own. Next, identify income available to your family from Social Security, investments, retirement savings and any other sources. Insurance can help bridge any gaps between the expenses to be covered and the income available.
Funeral costs. Gravesite costs typically add thousands more to this number. Mortgage payoff. You may need coverage equal to the amount of your outstanding mortgage balance. Estate planning. The next question is what type of policy to purchase. Life insurance policies generally fall into two broad categories: term or permanent.
Term insurance is for a specific period. Most permanent policies build up a cash value that you may be able to borrow against.
Over time, the cash value also may reduce the premiums. Because the premiums are typically higher for permanent insurance, you need to consider whether the extra cost is worth the benefits. It might not be if, for example, you may not require much life insurance after your children are grown.
No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind. Let us help you work out the details. Here are some critical steps to take to better manage the situation. These may include stockbrokers, financial advisors, attorneys, CPAs, insurance agents and physicians.
Keep a list of their investment holdings, IRA and retirement plan accounts, and life insurance policies, including current balances and account numbers. Be sure to add in projections for Social Security benefits. Before going any further, have a frank and honest discussion with your elderly relatives, as well as other family members who may be involved, such as your siblings.
Understandably, they may be hesitant or too proud to accept your help initially. Assuming you can agree on how to move forward, develop a plan incorporating several legal documents. If your parents have already created one or more of these documents, they may need to be revised or coordinated with new ones. Some elements commonly included in an estate plan are:.
Of course, jointly owned property with rights of survivorship automatically pass to the survivor. Living trusts. A living trust can supplement a will by providing for the disposition of selected assets. Powers of attorney for health and finances. These documents authorize someone to legally act on behalf of another person. With a durable power of attorney, the most common version, the authorization continues after the person is disabled. Living wills or advance medical directives. These documents provide guidance for end-of-life decisions. Beneficiary designations. Undoubtedly, your parents have completed beneficiary designations for retirement plans, IRAs and life insurance policies.
Contact us to discuss the matter further. October 15 — Personal federal income tax returns that received an automatic six-month extension must be filed today and any tax, interest and penalties due must be paid. If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until November 13 to file the return.
November 15 — If the monthly deposit rule applies, employers must deposit the tax for payments in October for Social Security, Medicare, withheld income tax, and nonpayroll withholding. December 17 — Calendar-year corporations must deposit the fourth installment of estimated income tax for But the law did draw a silver lining around it. Revised rules now lessen the likelihood that many taxpayers will owe substantial taxes under the AMT for through Think of the AMT as a parallel universe to the regular federal income tax system. The difference: The AMT system taxes certain types of income that are tax-free under the regular tax system and disallows some regular tax deductions and credits.
This amount is deducted when calculating your AMT income. The TCJA significantly increases the exemption for through The exemption is phased out when your AMT income surpasses the applicable threshold, but the TCJA greatly increases those thresholds for through Unfortunately, the AMT also hit some unintended targets.
But under the TCJA, only those with high incomes will see their exemptions phased out, while others — particularly middle-income taxpayers — will benefit from full exemptions. For many taxpayers, the AMT rules are less worrisome than they used to be. Let our firm assess your liability and help you plan accordingly. So, there was no need to address the AMT. As a result, higher-income taxpayers had little or nothing left to lose by the time they got to the AMT calculation, while many upper-middle-income folks still had plenty left to lose.
Also, the highest earners were in the In addition, the AMT exemption is phased out as income goes up. This amount is deducted in calculating AMT income. Under previous law, this exemption had little or no impact on individuals in the top bracket because the exemption was completely phased out. But the exemption phaseout rule made upper-middle-income taxpayers more likely to owe AMT under previous law. So, proper planning is essential. One option, which can be especially beneficial if the children in question still have many years until heading off to college, is a Section plan.
So, these plans can be particularly powerful if contributions begin when the child is young. In addition, some states offer applicable state tax incentives. Distributions used to pay qualified expenses such as tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, computer-related items and, generally, room and board are income-tax-free for federal purposes and, in many cases, for state purposes as well. They usually have high contribution limits and no income-based phaseouts to limit contributions. And the owner can control the account — even after the child is a legal adult — as well as make tax-free rollovers to another qualifying family member.
In the case of grandparents, this also can avoid generation-skipping transfer taxes. One negative of a plan is that your investment options are limited. Another is that you can make changes to your options only twice a year or if you change the beneficiary. But whenever you make a new contribution, you can choose a different option for that contribution, no matter how many times you contribute during the year.
Also, you can make a tax-free rollover to another plan for the same child every 12 months. The biggest difference between traditional and Roth IRAs is how taxes affect contributions and distributions. Contributions to traditional IRAs generally are made with pretax dollars, reducing your current taxable income and lowering your current tax bill. You pay taxes on the funds when you make withdrawals. As a result, if your current tax bracket is higher than what you expect it will be after you retire, a traditional IRA can be advantageous.
In contrast, contributions to Roth IRAs are made with after-tax funds. This can be advantageous if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket in retirement or if tax rates increase. Roth distributions differ from traditional IRA distributions in yet another way. A Roth IRA may offer a greater opportunity to build up tax-advantaged funds. Your Roth IRA can continue to grow tax-free over your lifetime.
A Roth IRA may or may not be one of them. This deadline applies regardless of whether you extend the deadline for filing your federal income tax return to October Also, recharacterization is still an option for other types of contributions. For example, you can still make a contribution to a Roth IRA and subsequently recharacterize it as a contribution to a traditional IRA before the applicable deadline.
When Congress was debating tax law reform last year, there was talk of repealing the federal estate and gift taxes. As it turned out, rumors of their demise were highly exaggerated. The exemption is annually indexed for inflation. Any gift tax exemption you use during life does reduce the amount of estate tax exemption available at your death. But not every gift you make will use up part of your lifetime exemption. For example:.
Take the value of your estate, net of any debts. Also subtract any assets that will pass to charity on your death. The net number represents your taxable estate. You can then apply the exemption amount you expect to have available at death. Remember, any gift tax exemption amount you use during your life must be subtracted. But if your spouse predeceases you, then his or her unused estate tax exemption, if any, may be added to yours provided the applicable requirements are met.
If your taxable estate is equal to or less than your available estate tax exemption, no federal estate tax will be due at your death. But if your taxable estate exceeds this amount, the excess will be subject to federal estate tax. Be aware that many states impose estate tax at a lower threshold than the federal government does. Perhaps you want to transfer some appreciated stock to a child or grandchild to start them on their journey toward successful wealth management.
Or maybe you simply want to remove some assets from your taxable estate or shift income into a lower tax bracket. Years ago, the kiddie tax applied only to those under age The kiddie tax applied to a child if the child:. Now, under the TCJA, for tax years beginning after December 31, , the taxable income of a child attributable to earned income is taxed under the rates for single individuals, and taxable income of a child attributable to net unearned income is taxed according to the brackets applicable to trusts and estates.
As under previous law, the kiddie tax can potentially apply until the year a child turns Fortunately, there may be ways to achieve your goals without triggering the kiddie tax. Many families wait until the end of the year to make substantial, meaningful gifts. Please contact our firm for more information and some suggestions on how to achieve your financial goals. When you hire someone to work in your home, you may become an employer. Thus, you may have specific tax obligations, such as withholding and paying Social Security and Medicare FICA taxes and possibly federal and state unemployment insurance.
A household worker is someone you hire to care for your children or other live-in family members, clean your house, cook meals, do yard work or provide similar domestic services. But not everyone who works in your home is an employee. For example, some workers are classified as independent contractors. These self-employed individuals typically provide their own tools, set their own hours, offer their services to other customers and are responsible for their own taxes.
To avoid the risk of misclassifying employees, however, you may want to assume that a worker is an employee unless your tax advisor tells you otherwise. The threshold is adjusted annually for inflation. You pay any federal employment and withholding taxes by attaching Schedule H to your Form You may have to pay state taxes separately and more frequently usually quarterly.
You can be audited by the IRS at any time and be required to pay back taxes, penalties and interest charges. Our firm can help ensure you comply with all the requirements.
In response, the IRS recently issued a statement clarifying that the interest on home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and second mortgages will, in many cases, remain deductible. The principal residence is where the taxpayer resides most of the time; the second residence is any other residence the taxpayer owns and treats as a second home. In the past, interest on qualifying home equity debt was deductible regardless of how the loan proceeds were used.
A taxpayer could, for example, use the proceeds to pay for medical bills, tuition, vacations, vehicles and other personal expenses and still claim the itemized interest deduction. The TCJA limits the amount of the mortgage interest deduction for taxpayers who itemize through As a relatively comprehensive new tax law, the TCJA will likely be subject to a variety of clarifications before it settles in. Please contact our firm for help better understanding this provision or any other.
Around this time of year, many people have filed and forgotten about their tax returns. But you could get an abrupt reminder in the form of an IRS penalty. Here are three common types and how you might seek relief:. Failure-to-file and failure-to-pay. Frequently cited reasons include fire, casualty, natural disaster or other disturbances.
The agency may also accept death, serious illness, incapacitation or unavoidable absence of the taxpayer or an immediate family member. To qualify for relief, you must have: 1 received no penalties other than estimated tax penalties for the three tax years preceding the tax year in which you received a penalty, 2 filed all required returns or filed a valid extension of time to file, and 3 paid, or arranged to pay, any tax due.
Estimated tax miscalculation. Tax-filing inaccuracy. You can obtain relief from these penalties if you can demonstrate that you properly disclosed your tax position in your return and that you had a reasonable basis for taking that position. Reliance on a competent tax advisor greatly improves your odds of obtaining penalty relief. Other possible grounds for relief include computational errors and reliance on an inaccurate W-2, or other information statement.
Each year, millions of taxpayers claim an income tax refund. To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. You can modify your withholding at any time during the year, or even more than once within a year. To do so, you simply submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. Changes typically will go into effect several weeks after the new Form W-4 is submitted. For estimated tax payments, you can make adjustments each time quarterly payments are due. One timely reason to consider adjusting your withholding is the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act late last year.
In fact, the IRS had to revise its withholding tables to account for the increase to the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions, and changes in tax rates and brackets. In an increasingly globalized society, many people choose to open offshore accounts to deposit a portion of their wealth. In a nutshell, if you have a financial interest in or signature authority over any foreign accounts, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds or trusts, you must disclose those accounts to the IRS and you may have additional reporting requirements.
For further information, contact us. The child credit has long been a valuable tax break. Here are some details that every family should know. The credit is, however, subject to income limitations that may reduce or even eliminate eligibility for it depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income MAGI.
The TCJA also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. Importantly, these provisions expire after Along with the income limitations, there are other qualification requirements for claiming the child credit. As you might have noticed, a qualifying child must be under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year in question.
But the child also must be a U. A qualifying child may also include a grandchild, niece or nephew. For instance, the child needs to have lived with his or her parents for more than half of the tax year. Tax credits can serve as powerful tools to help you manage your tax liability. So if you may qualify for the child credit in , or in years ahead, please contact our firm to discuss the full details of how to go about claiming it properly.
Years and years ago, the notion of having a company cafeteria or regularly catered meals was generally feasible for only the biggest of businesses. But, more recently, employers providing meals to employees has become somewhat common for many midsize to large companies. A recent tax law change, however, may curtail the practice. The law will phase in a wide variety of changes to the way businesses calculate their tax liabilities — some beneficial, some detrimental.
Revisions to the treatment of employee meals and entertainment expenses fall in the latter category. Various other employer-provided fringe benefits were also deductible by the employer and tax-free to the recipient employee. Under the new law, for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, , deductions for business-related entertainment expenses are disallowed. If your business regularly provides meals to employees, let us assist you in anticipating the changing tax impact. The tax was retained in the final version of the law.
Absent further congressional action, the exemptions will revert to their levels adjusted for inflation beginning January 1, These irrevocable arrangements allow substantial amounts of wealth to grow free of federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer GST taxes, largely because of their lengthy terms. Some states allow trusts to last for hundreds of years or even in perpetuity. And the funds, plus future appreciation, are removed from your taxable estate. Most important, by allocating your GST tax exemption to your trust contributions, you ensure that any future distributions or other transfers of trust assets to your grandchildren or subsequent generations will avoid GST taxes.
This is true even if the value of the assets grows well beyond the exemption amount or the exemption is reduced in the future. Naturally, setting up a dynasty trust is neither simple nor quick. Our firm can work with your attorney to maximize the tax benefits and help ensure the trust is in the best interests of your estate. Regardless of the tax implications, there are valid nontax reasons to set up a dynasty trust. First, you can designate the beneficiaries of the trust assets spanning multiple generations.
Typically, you might provide for the assets to follow a line of descendants, such as children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. You can also impose certain restrictions, such as limiting access to funds until a beneficiary earns a college degree. Every company needs to upgrade its assets occasionally, whether desks and chairs or a huge piece of complex machinery.
But before you go shopping this year, be sure to brush up on the enhanced bonus depreciation tax breaks created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act TCJA passed late last year. Qualified new — not used — assets that your business placed in service before September 28, , fall under pre-TCJA law. This tax break is available for the cost of new computer systems, purchased software, vehicles, machinery, equipment, office furniture and so forth. Bonus depreciation improves significantly under the TCJA. Productions are considered placed in service at the time of the initial release, broadcast or live commercial performance.
Important: For certain property with longer production periods, the preceding reductions are delayed by one year. Please contact our firm for more details on how either might help your business. The clock is ticking down to the tax filing deadline. The good news is that you still may be able to save on your impending tax bill by making contributions to certain retirement plans. For example, if you qualify, you can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA right up until the April 17, , filing date and still benefit from the resulting tax savings on your return.
There are also age limits. Contributions to a Roth can be made regardless of age, if you meet the other requirements. Contributions to Roth IRAs phase out at mostly different ranges. Saving for retirement is essential for financial security. Please contact our firm for further details and a personalized approach to determining how to best contribute to your retirement plan or plans.
For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most cases your parent must have less gross income for the tax year than the exemption amount. Exceptions may apply if your parent is permanently and totally disabled. Social Security is generally excluded, but payments from dividends, interest and retirement plans are included.
However, only one of you can claim the exemption in this situation. An adult-dependent exemption is just one tax break that you may be able to employ on your tax return to ease the burden of caring for an elderly parent. Contact us for more information on qualifying for this break or others. The other benefit is it has benefits while the client is alive. If you have all your money and all your property already transferred to a trust, and by the way the terms of this trust is basically I can do whatever I want with the money, can invest it, I can spend it, I can burn it.
One of the benefits of revocable trust is we typically name the client the trustee the initial trustee but then we will name a subsequent trustee. Beth Bershok: Of this particular type of trust? The Importance of Transferring Assets into a Trust. Jim Lange: Of this trust. Typically it is going to cost some money to create this trust. If you want to avoid probate then you need to take that investment and re-title it in the name of the trust.
But now you have a probate situation because that will then must be probated. I know personally my own philosophy is I never fear, and this almost might sound arrogant, I never fear making a conceptual mistake, I fear making a mechanical mistake. Sometimes even doing the work myself in terms of maybe filling up beneficiary forms or making sure that the asset is transferred. And then you get what you want which is avoiding the cost and aggravation and time of probate and you have control within the family.
Beth Bershok: So you went to all of that trouble for nothing? Jim Lange: Right. For an older client who has a lot of money outside of the IRA then I might lean a little bit towards avoiding probate and doing irrevocable trust. A quick break first, it is the Lange Money Hour where smart money talks. We are talking about trusts this evening. Jim has been practicing in Squirrel Hill for what is it now Jim 30 Years?
Jim Lange: 30 years. Beth Bershok: Wow. We did a question off the air for the office phone number so I wanted to share that with you. So if you would like to check in with the office. Now we were just talking a few minutes ago about living trusts.
Trusts for Minors. Jim Lange: I have seen in my own life situations where people got too much money too early and it literally devastated them. Jim Lange: The other thing is sometimes it will actually not only would you run out of money but it might change your motivation substantially. Beth Bershok: Oh they got the money while they were in college.
But then if you say then when the child is 21 years old they get the entire amount. Beth Bershok: Do you also think that you talked about motivation a moment ago do you think that when the child knows that, that when they do when they turn 21 they get this big lump of money it changes their motivation a lot earlier?
Beth Bershok: But surely they have to know. And I kind of like that. Well what is the solution to that then? Beth Bershok: Are you serious 60? Jim Lange: But if I had to err I think I would rather err on kids not given the chance to blow the money and to lose their motivation rather than giving it to them too early. Beth Bershok: And as a parent would you want to set this up really upon the birth of your child? Jim Lange: Yes you really want to do that.
Of course the big issue for young couples interestingly enough is the most important thing for young couples is actually not the terms of the trust although that certainly is but for younger couples the issue is actually guardianship provisions, who is going to take care of the child if something should happen to both parents. I want to give the office number too again. Jim something along the lines of trusts for minors is what we call spend thrift trusts and this is sort of a similar situation in as much as you are trying to take care of somebody but protect themselves at the same time.
They get money boom they spend it the minute they get it to the point that you have to bail them out time and time again and if they had a lot of money some people are actually very generous. Jim Lange: Well I think a lot of time clients have an idea of whether their children will be responsible or not. Beth Bershok: Now if you have two children, one extremely responsible great with money, and the other somebody you know is going to blow through the money you need two different trusts.
Who you can name as the trustee alright? Now the gentleman from PNC would certainly say name us name us. Beth Bershok: It seems like if you named a relative that relative would be caught between a rock and a hard place. So what we often end up with is naming the responsible sibling. If you expect your tax rate to be higher in the future, pay the tax now. If you expect it to be lower in the future, pay the tax later. Regardless, the longer you have to let it grow the more a ROTH makes sense because a larger percentage of your distributions will be tax free earnings.
The key difference is your tax rate. So my wife and I, both working good jobs but not great, went all out for tax deferred accounts. Now I am facing retirement with 2 social securities and 2 small pensions that puts us up in 6 figures. Then add in another 6 figures from required minimum distributions from tax deferred accounts.
I am considering a move to a no tax state to aleviate at least the state portion of my taxes. Any ideas? I have to disagree and say that your bias toward tax-deductible retirement saving is misplaced. Obviously, there are some shortcomings to the Roth IRA, but those who are able to should contribute as much as they can into one… but only after taking full advantage of an employer matched k. Knowing US historic tax rates, current national deficit, and the declining health of social security, it only makes sense that taxes will be higher for at least some period of time in the future.
Why would you want to save on taxes now, and potentially pay taxes at a higher rate in the future?? But since no one knows what the future of taxes has in store for us, it makes sense to have dollars that are both tax-free and taxable deducible now in retirement. To say a Roth IRA is a bad place to save for retirement is just wrong… What people need to be more educated about is being well diversified across not only asset classes, but in both market-tied assets such as IRAs and k s and non-market-tied assets, such as a savings account or cash-value life insurance which can function with the same tax treatment as a Roth if done properly to ensure never to have to liquidate market-tied assets at a loss when the market has a correction during retirement.
The uncertainty of future taxes should be considered just the same. As someone who is also quite untrusting of the government, your post definitely makes me question my decision to contribute to my Roth IRA. I think the big thing for me comes down to investment choices in the Roth IRA. Most companies only have mutual fund options so it is just luck of the draw on where your money goes. I currently pay 1.
Not much I can do about it unless I want an all bond portfolio. Our Roth IRA accounts are around 0. Not cool. People must watch out for the fees. When looking at an investment over 30 years and you factor in compounding interest just a few tenths of a percent make a massive difference. That being said, if you agree with all the points made in the article you should be able to open up a traditional IRA with similar investments to your Roth, but with a tax deferral instead of contributing after tax dollars with growth that is tax exempt.
Our combined incomes are too much to allow for an IRA tax break, so I max out my pre-tax k. My preferred method is to contribute up to the company match in the k gotta love free money , then max out the Roth, then go back to the k. Very tough to predict my income in 30 years and certainly difficult to say what the government will decide to do. I also disagree with point 7 in the post about the withdraw penalty. One of the things I like about the Roth IRA is I can hopefully will never need to withdraw the principal tax and penalty free.
That is rarely the case with the k or traditional. Andrew, that is a great point as my wife and I are getting very close to that line and this would be a great way to get us a few more years of eligibility. I contributed for almost 20 years to grow this account. Now wiped out. Sorry about that. Did all your holdings go to zero? Is a traditional IRA loss deductible? I think the author missed a most important point: the time value of money. The value of money now does not equal the same value later. If I give you five dollars today, I better get back more than 5 dollars in a year.
That difference is the time value of money. Predicting taxes in 40 years is not easy. Otherwise, people would never buy insurance from insurance companies that have to charge more than your statistical risk to make a profit. I know what the tax rate is now. There MAY be some benefit to subjecting my money to the predictable tax instead of the unpredictable tax. Ok, so that last paragraph was a side issue.
Back to time value of money. Traditional IRAs tax as it comes out, after it has grown we hope it grew in 40 years! But the rules are ignoring something important: part of the Roth IRA money is compound interest that has never been taxed. I have 43 years to That will be , when I get to How much already taxed money did I put in? So I made , in compound interest.
More than two thirds of my retirement fund. I think the difference of paying taxes or not on more than half a million dollars matters more than what tax bracket I paid on , How I see it: K: Pay taxes on all of your retirement money. Traditional IRA: Pay taxes on all of your retirement money. Roth IRA: Pay taxes on only some of your retirement money.
How does the government not see this is bad for them?! Your above example neglects one very important aspect of the equation. Even if a traditional IRA limits you to If you invest X tax defered amount in a tax defered account and X minus tax paid in a roth, recieve the same return and remain in the same tax bracket, in the end the money you receive after taxes is exactly the same. There are lots of good arguments in favor of both types of accounts on the forum like time value of money, estate planning, lower or higher tax bracket in retirement, etc.
I did ,however, end up in a higher tax bracket in retirement. I think most people are unaware of how taxation of Social Security benefits can affect their marginal tax rates in retirement. It really does mess with the assumption that you will be in a lower tax bracket while taking Social Security benefits. Check out this article from Michael Kitces:. And if that happens, would you wish you had used the Roth option? Roth Ira:. Earn pre-tax b.
Contribute , earns compound interest tax-free c. Withdrawal for retirement, pay tax on initial , AND tax on the compounded interest. The real benefit is that you are not paying taxes on the compounded interest which is what makes up the majority of the account value. I spend today, I invest I agree. And, because of tax loopholes for real estate, you pay no taxes on it. It rolls over year to year, it is NEVER taxed and after age 65 you no longer pay a penalty on withdrawals and so you can pay for both living and health expenses out of the fund.
So I think you may be mistaken here sir. The roth ira is a tax exempt withdrawal. So why is this a bad idea for people earning lower incomes? From what I can tell if you are paying less taxes on the income you are depositing than the extra you would be able to deposit into a pre-tax retirement account it makes sense to utilize a roth ira as long as you plan to hold the ira until retirement and your retirement is more tha 5 years in the future. If your income is substantially lower now than your anticipated retirement income it makes sense to pay the taxes now at your lower rate rather than hoping your growth rate will be high enough in a traditional ira to compensate for your higher tax rate in retirement.
Because your roth ira withdrawals are going to be tax free assuming you withdraw them at lead five years from now and you will be at least Zachary, you are right. I was very attracted to the idea of putting after tax money in, and pulling out tax free money in retirement. However, even back then, when I probably would have just barely been able to meet the maximum annual contribution… that is the main thing that convinced me otherwise.
After starting my own business and owning investment properties, I found that there are so many better even tax friendly ways to save for retirement. There is simply no place for the Roth IRA for this type of plan. There are several reasons why a Roth is important and should be utilized. Also, I happen to have a K plan that has a Roth option, in addition to a pre-tax and post-tax option. I believe in maxing out my K. I contribute some to pre-tax and some to Roth.
Taxes will have to be paid on the portion that has earned interest but not the principle amount at time of rollover, but this is still a great way to increase Roth contributions and without having to do a backdoor approach. In addition, even before the age of Better if you can get a lower effective tax rate. Roth is a way to achieve this. Most people think their income at retirement will drop a lot, but that may not be true!
People who invest and do well will have those RMDs to contend with in addition to SS benefits, if the bulk of their investments are in traditional IRAs or pre-tax rollovers. Never assume; run the numbers. There are consequences that affect what you pay for Medicare coverage. There is a method to the madness. Roth absolutely has its place and its not only for those starting out in their working lives. Get educated! That is a hypothetical great advantage. Not one penny of that 1 billion dollars would be taxable along as they follow the rules of a Roth distribution. But if it was in a traditional IRA the income would be taxable.
FS, have your finally revised your opinions on the Roth? Given the current political landscape, it certainly seems that at some point in the future we could see some sort of government program to make education more affordable as well as nationalized healthcare. I saved money in a traditional k at my prior job, and recently have been moving it into a roth throughout my lower income PhD years.
How far ahead will I be when not only am I in a higher tax bracket, but all tax brackets are higher? I do see his point about the tax implications tho. Roth IRA contribution money is taxed in your regular income for that year. I also have a military pension. Hi FS. Great post. This topic seems to be evergreen, based on the years of comments on this string. I respectfully disagree with your assessment. I believe Roth IRAs are the better investment vehicle if for no other reason than a Roth removes one uncertainty my future tax rate. I make too much money to invest in a Roth, but I fund two IRAs me and my wife every year and immediately convert them to Roths.
There are no tax implications if converted before any new earnings. We started this a few years ago and are currently in our mids. My plan is to use the tax-free money from the Roth IRAs first after retirement and let the pre-tax investments K compound for a few more years. No one has mentioned it yet, but are actually contributing more through a ROTH than a traditional since the contribution limits are the same. I am early in my career but I believe I would be making more after retirement since I would likely be working as a civilian at that point and making a higher salary.
If I retire from the military I have to add in my pension as well which would further increase my tax bracket. Just more reasons the ROTH makes sense to military members. Big downside is that we get no match on the TSP from the government under the old retirement system. After 10 years Brother2 has k in his k. My research shows that when you take withdrawals from a Roth you are not taxed on contributions nor any earnings from it. Am I wrong? Roth IRA five-year rule: Withdrawals from your Roth IRA will only be classified as qualified distributions if it has been at least five years since you first opened and contributed to your Roth IRA, regardless of your age when you opened it.
A qualified distribution from a Roth IRA is tax-free and penalty-free, provided that the five-year aging requirement has been satisfied and one of the following conditions is met:. Hope this helps. You make some big assumptions in saying that the Roth IRA is not a good vehicle. My K offers squat in employer match. My income is highly variable.
In lean years, between income and a dance with the Schedule C, my effective tax rate can be almost down to the single digits. Yes, assuming the same tax rate the numbers are exactly the same regardless of whether you pay tax now i. Roth or when you withdraw after years of growth i. Re tax rate: We all know that tax rates go higher with time. On the other hand, your post-retirement income is likely to be lower. Will your tax rate be higher? I doubt it. Re government keeping its promises: Ya, right!! Just look at what the Obama gang tried to do by taxing college saving plans.
Like a Roth, capital gains in plans are not taxed. Obama tried to change the rules. I was really puzzled by all the articles about why ppl should convert to Roths. Then I realized that the gubment loves it because they get their hands on your money now. And the financial industry loves it because it generates business and fees for them.
You forgot 3. A Roth will work to your advantage when you are right on the edge of a tax bracket increase. A Roth would bridge that gap with no tax impact. The math is the same assuming the same tax rate now and after retirement. So it really becomes a bet that your tax rate now is lower than it will be after you retire. Is that a good bet? Depend on your situation. But I doubt it. Another huge risk of Roth is you are assuming the government will keep its promise and not tax you at retirement. Entitlement spending growth is unsustainable.
In the s Congress will face incredible political pressure to find erm I mean appropriate more resources to pay entitlement commitments. I greatly appreciated in advance if you guys can help. I currently self employment salon owner and look for to investment for my retirement. I am 43 year old and have no retirement plans.
Can you please advise me what best option out there for me?
There are many reasons why a Roth is beneficial. Thanks for your kinds words. Perhaps show some of your own math skills to help demonstrate my math is wrong and your math is right? No one is going to argue that, but this assumes that each number is the same under either scenario.
Roth wins. Other article is better, but you still ignore a lot of the other favorable aspects of the Roth see points in my first post, for examples. You can make tax rate assumptions all you want, but a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. Most people will earn less in retirement than when they are working. To put it as clear as possible, most people will make less working than they will make when working.
If you pay your taxes up front now, the government wins. I would pay more attention to those with experience, than those whose experience is based off pontification. May I ask how old you are and what is your net worth? Ok, what does that translate into in real terms? Realistically, most people will not see that kind of a jump in income, it will go down for the vast majority of Americans.
Who, other than financial executives, media moguls, some actors and politicians, and defense contractors lives or has assets that will deliver a cash flow like that? Those have to be some pretty incredible investments. Reality check: Most seniors end up living off of social security and maybe a modest k and IRA income. For more than one-third 36 percent , it provides more than 90 percent of their income.
For one-quarter 24 percent of elderly beneficiaries, Social Security is the sole source of retirement income.
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For those people, a Roth makes no sense because they are making a lot less now than they were when they were working. That means that they paid more taxes on the contribution than was necessary. And if they have always been poor but tried to save, ending up in the same tax bracket, it is better to pay later than sooner.
So in a nutshell, the Roth only makes sense if you are very wealthy and expect to become a hell of a lot wealthier. Having a Roth and a Traditional account is a way of hedging against tax rate uncertainty. I agree that not everyone stands to benefit from a Roth account. They may not have either. In summary. The Roth probably makes a lot of sense for young people and not as much sense for older people. One last comment.
I will say that if I knew my current tax rate would be the same as my future tax rate, I would go Roth hands-down, contrary to some of you. So many added benefits. For most people, they are told all the wonders of the Roth but the downside doesn't compute, media is tilted heavily toward a Roth but that only makes sense if you expect to be much more wealthy than you are now. For someone starting out, it may seem like a good idea and in some cases may actually be a good idea but if you think you will be in the same tax bracket as you would be when taking the distribution, why bother with the Roth?
Paying the same tax now or later, keep your money now! Just the time value of money. Oh, and:. That is, it already takes into account the effect of time. If you expect to be equally wealthy, you might as well use a Roth because it provides much more flexibility. My wife and I are in our mid 40s and both of us plan to retire in 11 years. For my k contributions, would you recommend that I continue to do pre-tax or should I start contributing to a Roth K to have tax diversification in my k? Thanks for your information. I know major weapons programs are often ordered because of who is make the decision and where the bulk of the economic activity will take place so the Senator from Wisconson on the Appropriations committee approves the bid from the supplier with a factory in Wisconson…for example.
You may have been a math rockstar, but you were not an economics rockstar, because the math is not the same in terms of paying taxes now or later. This mathematical reality obviously favors a traditional IRA, assuming the same marginal tax rates now and in retirement. Nonetheless, a Roth is still a useful vehicle because of a early retirement, before age This was a very marginal amount of income that cost far more in property taxes.
If you retire earlier than If you roll the funds over to an IRA, you can no longer take early distributions penalty free. Also of note, the first block of your income is not taxed anyway due to personal exemption s and standard or itemized deductions. Use the tax-free money to fill in income gaps when you need to avoid getting bumped up to the next income level. You are only penalized if you take out gains. Just make sure you keep track of contributions over the years so if you must withdraw contributions, you can report appropriately.
One caveat that people seem to forget, your Roth IRA account needs to be opened for 5 years before you can pull contributions. After 5 years though, you are free to pull them out. Is my Roth IRA supposed to be losing money? Worrying about the short term gains and losses is a losing recipe since youre then emotionally tied to it. If i may recommend a site called Betterment , they do a great job at managing your portfolio, keeping you balanced in low cost index ETFs and minimizing your tax liabilities.
Thats who I have my Roth IRA through and will more than likely open a taxable account there eventually. They are very cheap since they use technology and Vanguard funds. I have a question. After the past 3 years struggling to get back on my feet financially.
I landed a union job with a pension. My work offers a k with no match. Can anyone help lead me in the right direction. What should I do. Open a traditional IRA for tax year at a discount broker such as Scottrade, 2. Since your K is yours no matter what happens to your company, I assume you withdrew the entire amount and paid penalties as a result. Your math is correct but not for this situation.
My understanding is that with an employer Roth K even highly compensated employees can contribute the maximum to the Roth that they can to a Traditional k. If that is the case, the math depending on the tax rate and estimated earnings the Roth can be a great advantage even if you are in a lower tax bracket at retirement. As it turns out most people are not in a lower tax bracket upon retirement because they generally lose the necessary deductions to itemize. Do a spread sheet with a expected growth rate on the IRA and the amount saved each year from the tax savings and compare it to the Roth — do it with 30 years and then 25 to 30 years in retirement and it may surprise you using different tax rates and purpose growth rates on the savings account.
The statement the Roth is only good if you are going to be in lower tax rate is exactly true and with the Roth you have do mandatory withdrawals. I posted this question a month ago but never received a reply. So im re-posting with hopes of receiving one. I am a 44yo single mom of 3. I am a waitress as a profession, I do ok but definitely dont make boat loads of money. If so what should I invest monthly to yield the greatest return by retirement age? The two biggest money mistakes are raiding the account, and rapid buying and selling of investments. Choosing any of those three will eliminate the more difficult choices of stocks vs bonds vs flavors of stocks and bonds… — Vanguard will manage the fund with low fees, shifting the investments to become more conservative the closer you get to retirement.
I will tell you this: deciding to put the money to work for you is far more important than the Roth or Not decision. It is addictive to watch it grow. I respectfully disagree. First of all, taxes are currently at historical lows. When you are young and earning less thereby benefiting less from tax deductions , it makes infinitely more sense to favor Roth IRA over k or traditional IRA; although, I advocate always contributing enough to k to get the employer match. With a long investment horizon and low starting salary, it makes sense to favor Roth IRAs. You can always ramp up your k contributions as your salary increases, at which point, the tax benefits becoming more desirable.
Second of all, the reason that the government set an income cut-off to Roth IRA eligibility and also set a low annual contribution limit is because the Roth IRA is intended to help regular people build wealth, rather than allow high-income people to stash away tons of money and avoid taxes. However, where there is a will there is a way anyone ever wonder how Mitt Romney managed to put so much in his IRA? Albeit probably not Roth. Furthermore, if you are high-income and your company offers a Roth k , you can actually contribute after-tax money up to k limit and then simply roll the Roth k into your Roth IRA upon retirement, all entirely tax-free.
This will also allow the person to avoid required minimum distributions. Third of all, yes, anyone can theoretically die at any time without ever enjoying the benefits of tax-free distribution. But how would a dead person benefit from a k either? In reality, the overall life expectancy in this country is increasing for both men and women. In fact, a child born today can expect to live longer than ever in U. There are hoards of actuaries banking on life expectancy increases—one of the many reasons as to why insurance companies are always trying to sell whole-life insurances, especially to people with excellent health and habits.
Found your post by accident! Had to check out the argument :. I would hate to have to look forward to paying taxes on all that when I retire. I would love to know more about this. Those are tenants gains over a very volatile 16 years. How do ride through things so well? Were you going on shopping sprees during the crises and buying stocks on the cheap? How else could these numbers work out? I have a question for you all, I am a 44yo single mom of 3. This is definitely a couple years late but hopefully it could still help.
My personal advice would be to start by saving months of your expenses in a separate savings account. Then contribute as much to a Roth IRA as possible each month. Just setup an automatic monthly bank transfer and forget it. These recommendations are based more on behavioral psychology than pure numbers. Some good points. Shifting savings from the k to the Roth is going to be taxed at that top dollar rate. Certainly you make some good points in there that I agree with wholeheartedly like the futility of converting Traditional to Roth.
I must have missed it. I agree with you that our incomes will likely be lower in retirement but I fully expect the tax rates to be higher. Who can predict the net result? Not me. Not insignificant at all. And really this underestimates the impact since the k money gets taxed as it comes out while the Roth money does not. As a bonus, it provides you with two separate pools of money that are taxed differently. So when you retire you can decide where you want to pull from first to get the best tax efficiency.
When choosing between Roth vs. Tradition, I can agree that Traditional wins. But if its Roth vs. You are showing an unreasonable bias against the Roth. Great vehicle to retire early if you are a DGI investor and combine with SS at age 62, simple to just live off tax free income, and principle never lowers. FOr example, if the growth of your roth is earns you say 1 million in principle in the roth account, and you are DGI invesing at the typical 3. Thus, combined with SS, a paid for house, a paid for vehicle, if you live comfortably in retirement, it should be easy to life off about 5.
Correct me if I am wrong, but you are going to be paying taxes on a a traditional IRA or k when it is withdrawn and also can only roll your k to a traditional IRA to begin with but can be converted to a Roth IRA by adding the money into your income the year you convert it and will pay ordinary income tax on the amount rolled over. But would you want to pay taxes on that lesser amount vs in the future when you could possibly be in a higher tax bracket and with more money being taxed if you kept it in the traditional or ?
Well, what about the retiree who has most of her assets in tax free muni bonds? They will have a very small tax bill and hence low tax bracket. Very few indeed.
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As recently as the top marginal tax rate was raised 4. You wind up paying taxes on the front and back end. You also are insistent on maxing out a k , when that makes absolutely no sense prior to maxing out an IRA. Knowing the stock market averages about Instead, lets say you just max the employer match, then max the Roth IRA, then further pump money into the k. So what is the difference?
So Mr. Now, regarding Traditional IRAs. Did you include the benefit from the k -Trad. IRA contributions? This is incorrect. Traditional k contributions only reduce your taxable income for federal income tax purposes. It has no impact at all on medicare and social security taxes.
This article is very silly. News flash: the government is going to get their share in either case, whether you do Trad or Roth. So that is not a valid point of argument. I do agree that Roth may not be the best choice for everyone, however it does make more financial sense for many. I do agree that people should figure out how to keep more of their money, but what the poster fails to realize is that for many people the Roth may result in fewer total taxes paid, which seems to be the goal he is going for.
But now I am required to make the Required Minimum Distribution in order to pay taxes on the money we saved. The amount of the RMD is determined by a formula and then added to my income, and it is that total that I pay tax on. I have gone from thinking I had a fairly secure retirement to watching my money drain out in estimated tax payments like sand in an hourglass.
This seems like it should be enough to live on for a single person. Pretty well actually. You seem truly paranoid about the government, and let that affect your financial advice. You seem to think for some reason that the government will NOT raise taxes on everyone… you have more faith in them than me.
I agree this is too little to really fund a retirement, but in combination with a Roth k and taxable savings it is better to have more in the tax shelter accounts. Nobody likes to tap into retirement because of an emergency, but lets face it, life happens sometimes. If you keep an emergency fund around, which you should, you are basically letting the money sit in an account and essentially lose value due to inflation.
Everyone should have an emergency fund to some extent think of the lost investment income as an insurance premium on the unexpected , but if you invest into a Roth IRA you can pull your contributions out if that emergency hits beyond what you can handle with cash reserves. You should definitely keep a few months of living expenses outside the Roth IRA to help protect it, but if the options are: A. Put money into a traditional IRA B. Put money into an emergency fund C. This is a great strategy for maximizing your backup emergency fund and retirement in one.
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