Recent Changes in Tax Law Provide Tax Breaks
CAPITAL GAINS: Retroactive to May 7, 1997, the capital-gains rates will drop to a maximum 20 percent from the current 28 percent and, for the lowest income bracket, drop to 10 percent from the current 15 percent. The minimum holding period to qualify for the 20 percent and 10 percent rates is one year for assets sold from May 7 through July 28, and 18 months for assets sold after July 28.
HOME SALES: For home sales from May 7, 1997 the first $500,000 in gain from the sale of a principal residence is excluded from taxation for married couples and $250,000 for singles, but this benefit can be used only once every two years.
INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS: A new type of IRA, known as "Roth IRA's", will allow investment of up to $2,000 a year; these contributions will not result in tax deductions but withdrawals will be tax-free. The new IRAs will begin in 1998. Eligibility starts to phase out for individuals earning $95,000 and couples earning $150,000. A person can qualify for the new IRA even if their spouse does not.
Income restrictions on old-style IRAs - contributions are deductible within limits but withdrawals are taxed - will double over time, beginning in 1998. The phase out now starts at $25,000 for individuals and $40,000 for couples. That will go up by $10,000 next year for couples and $5,000 for singles.
For both old and new types of IRAs, penalty-free withdrawals will be permitted for education and first-time home purchases
Estate and Gift Tax Rates and Unified Credit Exemption Amounts
Calendar Year Estate and GST Tax Transfer Exemption Highest Estate& Gift Tax Rates
2002 $1,000,000* 50% 2003 $1,000,000* 49% 2004 $1,500,000 48% 2005 $1,500,000 47% 2006 $ 2,000,000 46% 2007 $ 2,000,000 45% 2008 $ 2,000,000 45% 2009 $ 3,500,000 45% 2010 No tax if you die r- this year only 35% (gift taxes only) 2011 $1,000,000 55%
*For 2002 and 2003, the GST tax exemption will be indexed for inflation. For 2001, the GST exemption is $1,060,000.
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