Here’s a 15-item checklist of low-hanging tax tips for financial advisors

Here's a 15-item checklist of low-hanging tax tips for financial advisors; Tax Planning Tips that Can Save You a Bundle

Here’s a 15-item checklist of low-hanging tax tips for financial advisors

It’s tempting to put April 15th behind you, but here’s how you can plan for next year:

With April 15th behind us, many people put tax issues onto the back burner until they’re staring at the next deadline. Alan Olsen, managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP in Silicon Valley, Calif. recommends that businesses think ahead.

He has prepared a list of thoughts an advisor can use for clients as a check-off list during 2010 to minimize tax burdens for April 15th 2011.

You can never go broke taking a profit; however, profit is subject to taxes. Therefore, a great tax plan will preserve your client’s wealth. Tax planning should be a year-round process. Effective tax planning may allow your client’s lifestyle expenses to be above “e” line deductions.

As an RIA, being familiar with the new tax laws will add value as you help clients prepare their financial plans.

You also need to understand the right type of investment and the impact a passive type of investment will have on a client’s tax situation.

For example, a client may have one primary home and several other homes. As long as a single home is not lived in more than 14 days, none of the other homes are considered as second homes but rather as investment properties.

Expenses incurred throughout the year to travel to and inspect and maintain each property are considered expenses deductible above the line.

1. Consider taking advantage of the Roth IRA conversion in 2010 which allows you to convert your IRA into a Roth IRA.

The conversion is included in taxable income which can be paid in two installments (2011 & 2012) and accounts for situations where a taxpayer may be left with a large tax bill from converting if the market falls in value (by placing funds back into your regulation IRA account within a specific timeframe).

Check state laws for conformity.

2. Be aware of the impact the new health care legislation is imposing on the Medicare tax on interest, dividends and gain on sale of investments. Beginning in 2013, a 3.8% excise tax will be imposed on this income.

Taxpayers with large positions of highly appreciated stock may want to consider liquidating those positions in 2010.  Also, in 2010 the tax rate on long term capital gains is 15% and is scheduled to rise to 20% in 2011.

3. Take a second look at a Roth IRA conversion. The new Medicare tax (discussed above) will not apply to distributions from Roth IRA, IRA, 401(k), 403 or 457(b) plans. Any distributions from the Roth IRA held for 5 years and made after 59 1⁄2 is not subject to the income tax or “new” medicare tax.

4. In 2010 consider hiring a person who has been unemployed for at least 2 months. No Federal payroll tax for the employee and employer will be due on salary for the balance of 2010 under the HIRE act. A payroll tax exemption form is filed on the newly released IRS Form W-11.

5. Sell highly appreciated assets to a charitable remainder trust. Taxpayers can defer paying the tax on the sale, receive a charitable contribution donation, and set up a lifetime annuity from the trust. The tax is then paid on the funds distributed from the trust.

6. Sit down with your accountant and review your income, expenses and potential deductions and decide what you can do now to impact the year.

7. Sell loser stocks to offset gains. If you have big capital gains consider selling some of the dogs. You can erase a tax liability on the gain with a corresponding loss.

8. Put the maximum amount in retirement accounts. Amazingly enough payroll deductions can increase your take home pay because they reduce your taxable income.

9. If you pay off your state taxes or property taxes early that accelerates your federal deductions.

10. Think green and take a tax credit. The government is happy to help out those of us who are energy efficient with $500 and up to $3,000 tax credits.

11. Be aware of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Sometimes accelerating deductions can cost you money if it triggers the AMT.

12. If you expect your income to be lower in 2010 than 2009 make additional state tax payments so you can take the deductions this year.

13. Make charitable contributions. If you have appreciated stock that you’ve had for more than one year you may want to keep the cash in your pocket and donate the stock. You’ll avoid paying the tax on the appreciation but will still be able to deduct the full value of the stock.

You win. Your charity wins. The only loser is Uncle Sam.

14. Don’t overlook other tax credits. Tax credits are much more valuable than deductions.

15. Being married helps. Look at your spouse’s income or lack thereof. Many of the calculations the IRS makes is based on the tax payer’s marital status.

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Alan Olsen, CPA


Alan Olsen, is the Host of the American Dreams Show and the Managing Partner of  GROCO is a premier family office and tax advisory firm located in the San Francisco Bay area serving clients all over the world.


Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio is a proud sponsor of The American Dreams Show.



The American Dreams show was the brainchild of Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA. It was originally created to fill a specific need; often inexperienced entrepreneurs lacked basic information about raising capital and how to successfully start a business.

Alan sincerely wanted to respond to the many requests from aspiring entrepreneurs asking for the information and introductions they needed. But he had to find a way to help in which his venture capital clients and friends would not mind.

The American Dreams show became the solution, first as a radio show and now with YouTube videos as well. Always respectful of interview guest’s time, he’s able to give access to individuals information and inspiration previously inaccessible to the first-time entrepreneurs who need it most.

They can listen to venture capitalists and successful business people explain first-hand, how they got to where they are, how to start a company, how to overcome challenges, how they see the future evolving, opportunities, work-life balance and so much more..

American Dreams discusses many topics from some of the world’s most successful individuals about their secrets to life’s success. Topics from guest have included:

Creating purpose in life / Building a foundation for their life / Solving problems / Finding fulfillment through philanthropy and service / Becoming self-reliant / Enhancing effective leadership / Balancing family and work…

Untitled_Artwork copy 4 (Also sponsored by GROCO) provides free access to content and world-class entrepreneurs, influencers and thought leaders’ personal success stories. To help you find your path in life to true, sustainable success & happiness.  It’s mission statement:

In an increasingly complex and difficult world, we hope to help you find your personal path in life and build a strong foundation by learning how others found success and happiness.

True and sustainable success and happiness are different for each one of us but possible, often despite significant challenges.

Our mission at is to provide resources and firsthand accounts of how others found their paths in life, so you can do the same.

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