If you’re not like Bruce Jenner who may spend upward $100K for sex change and didn’t put a ding on his $130 million net worth. If you are able to live a moderate lifestyle like the champion of personal finance bloggers like the Go curry cracker team and some others. The ones who have made it. Most of them will give out some tips on how they don’t pay a single penny in taxes. Right now I’m still in the rat race, I can’t enjoy it, but one day I will. I’m dreaming to this day.
You may owe 0% on your investment profits
Despite the tax hikes included in the misnamed American Taxpayer Relief Act, long-term capital gains and qualified dividends earned in your taxable brokerage firm accounts are still taxed at 0% when they fall within the 10% and 15% federal rate brackets.
Many more people than you might think occupy these bottom two brackets. Remember: your bracket is determined by the amount of your taxable income, which equals adjusted gross income reduced by allowable personal and dependency exemptions and by the standard deduction amount (if you don’t itemize) or your total itemized deductions (if you do itemize).
- Say you are a married joint filer with two dependent kids. You claim the standard deduction for 2014. You could have up to $102,000 of adjusted gross income (including long-term capital gains and dividends from securities) and still be within the 15% rate bracket. Your taxable income would be $73,800, which is the top of the 15% bracket for joint filers in 2014.
- Say you use head of household filing status. You have two dependent kids and your claim the standard deduction for 2014. You could have up to $70,350 of adjusted gross income (including long-term capital gains and dividends) and still be within the 15% rate bracket. Your taxable income would be $49,400, which is the top of the 15% bracket for heads of households in 2014.
- Say you have no kids and claim the standard deduction for 2014. You could have up to $47,050 of adjusted gross income (including long-term capital gains and dividends and still be within the 15% rate bracket. Your taxable income would be $36,900, which is the top of the 15% bracket for singles in 2014.
- If you itemize deductions, your 2014 adjusted gross income (including long-term capital gains and dividends) could be even higher, and your taxable income would still be within the 15% rate bracket.
To be perfectly clear, if your total taxable income, including long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, is less than the top of the 15% rate bracket, you will owe the Feds nothing for all your capital gains and dividends. If part of your gains and dividends fall within the 15% bracket and part of them fall outside, you will only owe 15% of the part that falls outside — unless your income is so high that the 20% maximum rate kicks in.
Impact of above-the-line deductions
The adjusted gross income figures cited above are after subtracting any above-the-line write-offs allowed on page 1 of your Form 1040. Among others, these write-offs include deductible retirement account contributions, health savings account (HSA) contributions, self-employed health insurance premiums, alimony payments, moving expenses, and so forth. So if you have some above-the-line deductions, your gross income can be that much higher, and you will still be within the 15% rate bracket and owe 0% to the Feds on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.
Traditional IRA to Roth IRA
After all of your deductions is lower than that 15% taxes thread hole, you will then convert the amount of IRA to Roth IRA, and that, my friend will make that money TAX FREE FOREVER!! The only way to do it efficiently is when you’re still young, still have the time to convert it over.
Take Away Point
If you qualify for the 0% rate, congratulations. Thank George W. Bush, because the 0% rate was part of the so-called Bush tax cuts, many of which are still on the books.