Our Services
The Founders
Speaking Engagements
News & Information
Financial Briefs
Articles Of Interest
Featured News
Market Data Bank
Stock Quotes
Problem Solvers
Client Forms
Helpful Websites
Contact Us
More Articles  Printer Friendly Version


Timely Tax Angles To Dividends

Not all payouts to shareholders are "qualified dividends," but those that are get favorable treatment in which they're normally taxed at less than your rate for ordinary income.

But the tax rules for qualified dividends may go out the window if proposed tax reforms are enacted. The big question is whether you would fare worse under the new rules—or better.

Under current law, most dividends issued by domestic companies are qualified when paid out to shareholders and the owners of mutual funds. In some cases, qualified dividends also may come from foreign corporations, if their shares include publicly traded American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) or shares that are otherwise readily available on an established U.S. securities market.

The maximum tax rate on qualified dividends is only 15% for most investors. If you're in the top ordinary income tax bracket of 39.6%, the tax rate is 20%. Even better, though, investors in the two lowest ordinary income brackets of 10% and 15% benefit from a maximum 0% rate on qualified dividends.

To qualify for these reduced tax rates, shareholders of common stock and mutual funds must own the shares for more than 60 days, including the ex-dividend date (the annual date on which dividends are paid out). The holding period is 90 days for preferred stock. This can affect the timing of transactions if the ex-dividend date is approaching.

Other dividends, including most dividends issued by foreign corporations, are taxed at ordinary income rates. Therefore, if you received $1,000 in foreign dividends in 2016 and you're in the top tax bracket of 39.6%, you must pay $396 in tax on the dividends on your 2016 tax return. But even then, you may be eligible for a foreign credit or deduction that can offset tax paid on foreign dividends dollar for dollar.

So how does potential tax reform figure in the mix? Under campaign proposals from President Trump, the favorable tax rates for qualified dividends would be repealed, but investors would benefit from overall tax cuts. The seven-bracket structure would be scaled back to just three tax brackets with a top tax rate of 33%. It's not yet clear what changes will be enacted, however, or how particular taxpayers might fare.

The best approach is to continue to monitor developments. We will pass along vital information.

Email this article to a friend

Tax Reform Plan Puts The Squeeze On Securities Sales
Four Smart Tools For College Savings
Tax Relief For Disaster-Area Losses
It's Hard To Beat The Annual Gift Tax Exclusion For Ease
NINGs, WINGs And DINGs: Tax Angles
A Trust For Creditor Protection
"New and Improved" QSBS Tax Break
If Estate Tax Repeal Is Enacted Soon, Will It Stick?
Avoid This Installment Sale Trap
What Are The 3 R's Of Roth IRAs?
Ask About Personal Residence Trusts
Foreign Intrigue In Estate Planning
The myRa Is Cut Short, But Other Options Abound
6 Ways To Close The Retirement Gap
Are You "Rich" Or Not? New Survey Hits The High Points
Why Aren't More Millennials Moving On Up And Out?

This article was written by a professional financial journalist for The Dover Group and is not intended as legal or investment advice.

©2017 Advisor Products Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Financial planning provided by Williams Advisory Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
This message is intended for the use of the person(s) to whom it is addressed.
It may contain information that is privileged, confidential, proprietary, and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law