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Capital Gains and Losses: New Twists for 2012 - Part Two

As I mentioned in a previous post called "Capital Gains and Losses: New Twists for 2012 - Part One", the end of the year is the traditional time for securities investors to "harvest" capital losses for federal income tax purposes. Part of my role as a tax attorney in Atlanta, is to educate my clients I wanted to share that there's an added wrinkle to capital gains and losses in 2012: the usual strategy of harvesting losses is a little more complicated this year due to three key tax law changes scheduled for 2013.

  • ONE - The maximum tax rate for net long-term capital gain will increase to 20% (10% for investors in the lower tax brackets).
  • TWO - Ordinary tax rates are going up. For example, the top rates of 33% and 35% will increase to 36% and 39.6%, respectively.
  • THREE - A special 3.8% Medicare surtax will apply to the lesser of net investment income for the year or the amount by which modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers).

Barring any late legislation by Congress, investors may be inclined to harvest capital gains instead of losses at year-end. As a result, you can benefit from the favorable tax rates in effect for 2012. If you've already realized short-term gains in 2012, you might want to realize short-term losses to offset those gains. But don't use short-term losses to offset long-term gains, if you can help it, because long-term gains are taxed at a maximum rate of only 15% in 2012.

Other considerations may come into play. The best approach is to do what's best for your situation. Don't hesitate to reach out to our Atlanta Law Firm: at 770-939-7710 or Toll-Free: 1-866-945-5447

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