February 09, 2014
Ronald Finkelstein, Tax & Business Services Partner, Quoted in The Wall Street Journal Article, "Ten Ways You're Probably Leaving Money on the Table."
By Anna Prior
Tax-advantaged accounts, property-tax appeals, insurance discounts. They're all there for the taking - but many people don't.
They're simple. They can save a bundle of money. But lots of people just don't use them.
People's financial lives are filled with potential low-effort strategies that can add up to huge savings over time. They can max out their benefits at work or take deductions for college-savings plans or spend a few minutes clicking around to find better rates on insurance once a year.
Yet, all too often, inertia kicks in. Think of it as the fiscal version of not going to the gym every day. People think they don't have time to squeeze in one more activity, even though it won’t take that much time and they’ll be all the better for it. (Or sometimes, it never crosses their mind.)
If someone bought 500 shares of a stock at $10 each and it's now worth $50, he wouldn't have to pay the capital-gains taxes on the $20,000 profit. That's a potential tax savings of $3,000 if that stock was held for more than a year and taxed at the 15% long-term capital-gains rate. That savings increases to $4,760 for joint filers with an adjusted gross income of $450,000 or more in 2013, who are subject to a 20% long-term capital-gains rate and a 3.8% Medicare surtax on net investment income, says Ronald Finkelstein, a tax partner at accountant and advisory firm Marcum LLP in Melville, N.Y.