While tax consequences should never drive investment decisions, it’s critical that they be considered — especially by higher-income taxpayers, who may be facing the 39.6% short-term capital gains rate, the 20% long-term capital gains rate and the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT).
Holding on to an investment until you’ve owned it more than one year so the gains qualify for long-term treatment may help substantially cut tax on any gain. Here are some other tax-saving strategies:
- Use unrealized losses to absorb gains.
- Avoid wash sales.
- See if a loved one qualifies for the 0% rate (or the 15% rate if your rate is 20%).
Many of the strategies that can help you save or defer income tax on your investments can also help you avoid or defer NIIT liability.
And because the threshold for the NIIT is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), strategies that reduce your MAGI — such as making retirement plan contributions — can also help you avoid or reduce NIIT liability.