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Bush vs. Kerry On Your Tax Bill

Contributed by mm | August 25, 2004 9:10 PM PST

If your adjusted gross income is more than $225,000 (and $185,000 if you file as single taxpayer), you should pay some attention to Kerry's tax proposal. Be prepared to work several additional days for the government if Kerry is elected in November.

This WSJ story shares the key elements of Kerry's plan:

- Restore the top two marginal income tax brackets, so today's 35% bracket will be raised to 39.6% and the 33% bracket will be raised to 36%

- For families making more than $200,000 a year, dividend income, currently taxed at a maximum of 15%, will be subject to a maximal rate of 39.6%. Capital gain tax rate will be restored to as high as 20%.

- On estate tax, Kerry favors to bump up the basic estate tax exemption from $1.5 million to $2 million immediately and set up an exception of $10 million for family-owned small business. Bush wants to kill "death tax" completely.

So, what's the advice for high-income families?

- If Kerry is taking over the presidency and Democrats are recapture control of the Capitol, be sure to sell some big long-term winners to take advantage of the current low tax rate.

- Tax-exempt municipal bonds will be more attractive when tax rate becomes higher.

- To some extent, high-income families can also try to accelerate income into this year.

Well, sitting in the 25% tax bracket now, I don't need to worry about the Kerry tax plan impact right now, but with the growing deficits, it's probably inevitable that some of us may face higher tax, no matter who will sit in the Oval Office for the next four years.

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