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10 top ways to cut personal tax

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The end of the year is the optimal time to assess your personal tax situation.

Strategy: Shift income and deductions to your tax advantage. For instance, you might postpone income to 2017 and accelerate deductions into 2016 to improve your overall tax picture.

There’s no shortage of year-end tax-planning ideas, but here are 10 of the most popular techniques.

1. Make it “harvest time” for stock losses. This is the traditional time of year to harvest capital losses from dispositions of stocks and other securities. The losses can offset capital gains recognized earlier in the year plus up to $3,000 of highly taxed ordinary income. Any excess capital loss is carried over to 2017. Conversely, you might harvest capital gains that will be sheltered by capital losses recognized earlier this year. Long-term gains are taxed at a maximum tax rate of only 15% or 20% for investors in the top ordinary income bracket of 39.6%.

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