You know you’re deep into a longstanding bull market when you see things like average pedestrians keeping one eye on the market tickers outside of brokerage houses to see when the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally breached the 20,000 mark. Who would have imagined record market highs at this point last year, when the indices ended the year in negative territory? Or when new year 2016 got off to such a rocky start, tumbling 10% in the first two weeks—the worst start to a year since 1930?
Many of President-Elect Donald Trump’s policy proposals are too vague to analyze, but one area where he has been clear is on reforming our tax system. Here’s a quick primer on the changes that you can expect to be introduced to Congress in the coming year.
You probably know that the IRS requires you to start taking mandatory distributions from your IRA when you turn 70 1/2, even if you don’t actually need the money. But can you do a Roth conversion at that late date, and thereby defer distributions forever?
By now, most voters have made up their mind about who they want to serve as their next President. But what can they look forward to, from an investment and tax standpoint, if their candidate wins or loses? How will the election affect their portfolio and future net worth?
If you think taxes are higher than their historical rates, well, it depends on how far back in history you’re comparing them to. Take a look at the accompanying chart, which shows tax revenue as a percent of total national income for four countries—France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.—since 1868. The chart ends in 2008, and is taken from research by tax policy analyst Thomas Piketty.
Chances are, you know how much you pay in taxes. But how much are taxes costing you in time and preparation fees?
According to a Tax Foundation report, using statistics from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tax compliance will cost the U.S. economy $409 billion this year. In all, Americans will spend 8.9 billion hours—more than 222 million work weeks—complying with IRS tax filing requirements for 2016.
By all accounts, Puerto Rico is a beautiful, sunny place to visit, especially in the Winter. But it’s hard to fathom how this U.S. island territory of 3.5 million people could have racked up $70 billion in public debt—roughly $20,000 per citizen, which happens to be almost exactly the population’s average yearly income. Now that Puerto Rican bonds are trading at 20-50 cents on the dollar, a lot of people are starting to wonder what happened.