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A Two-year Income Tax Reprieve

Tax-planning strategies that make the most sense in light of the changing rates

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010,1 among other things, ended the nail-biting uncertainty about the estate tax thresholds for 2011. (For more information, see “New Rates, New Exemptions, New Opportunities,” in this issue, p. 20.) Signed into law on Dec. 17, 2010, this $858 billion tax legislation2 also gave taxpayers a two-year income tax reprieve by extending into 2011 and 2012 the lower income tax rates and many of the other tax incentives that were enacted in 2001 and 2003 (the Bush tax cuts).3

Although taxpayers have temporary tax relief for the next two years, a sizeable tax hike is on the books for 2013. (See “Income Tax Rates,” p. 17.) Not only will the Bush tax cuts expire, but also there will be new income taxes to pay for health care costs. Individuals who have over $200,000 of adjusted gross income ($250,000 on married joint returns) will incur an additional 3.8 percent tax on most investment income and an additional tax of 0.9 percent on earned income from wages and self-employment.

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