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By David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Taxes can be confusing for people who aren't tax professionals — there are several tax filing categories, multiple income brackets and tax rates, and various additional taxes that kick in at different thresholds. To help you and your clients understand how taxation can affect individual investors, consider this tax tenet:

"Uncle Sam can be a coach, not just a referee."

If you think of the tax code as a list of carrots (desirable tax outcomes) and sticks (undesirable outcomes), it can start to make sense. The object is to collect the carrots and avoid the sticks. The After-Tax Advisor® pays attention to this year-round by:

  • Warning clients if they're about to do something (like exercise incentive stock options) that could inadvertently push them into alternative minimum tax (AMT)
  • Making sure clients time asset sales for optimal tax treatment
  • Helping clients maximize the benefit received from tax losses

You may not be a tax professional, but you are best able to see and care for all of your clients' wealth.

Bottom line: Tax planning is not just a tax-season or year-end activity. Opportunities are available year-round. The After-Tax Advisor capitalizes on them by thinking ahead.

tax forward