Our weekly roundup of tax-related investment strategies and news your clients may be thinking about.

Tax shelter not just for the wealthy
Some financial services companies are offering specially designed life insurance contracts that provide protection to investment portfolios from state and federal income taxes, writes a certified financial planner for the Palm Beach Post. These financial products enable high net worth clients to invest in hedge funds and other options in a tax-free environment, writes the expert. And for investors who aren’t ultra-wealthy, but still would prefer to avoid income taxes on their investments, there are similar “off the rack” strategies available using more conventional investments, according to the article.

Bloomberg News


4 mid-year tax moves to make today
The mid-year is a great time for clients to review their tax situations, according to this article on personal finance website Motley Fool. At this time of the year, taxpayers should ensure they make timely estimated quarterly tax payments if they are self-employed and adjust their tax withholding to avoid underpaying their taxes. They should also consider boosting contributions to their retirement accounts to maximize the benefits.

The wealth-transfer challenge
A financial planner says that avoiding the tax bite, family disputes and preparing family members for the inheritance are among the concerns that clients have when transferring wealth to their loved ones, according to this Q&A article on Barron's. "Transferring the wealth for tax-efficiency reasons used to be the focus of the past, and don’t get me wrong, it’s still important to our ultrahigh-net-worth clients," says the expert. "But more of the focus is now on the most efficient way to do it, while instilling the responsibilities that come with that wealth."

Separate finances can be a lot trickier for couples in retirement
Keeping separate finances may be a smart move for couples during their careers but this can complicate their situation once they enter the golden years, writes an expert on The Wall Street Journal. "One spouse may have enjoyed much greater investing success than the other. One may have lots of disposable income, while the other may have to rely on taxable distributions..." the expert explains. "And if spouses don’t communicate properly, conflicting ideas about spending on travel, helping family and leisure activities can create disagreements and other unpleasant issues."

Help with tracking IRA contributions
IRA investors are advised to keep Form 5498 sent by their account administrator weeks after the tax-filing deadline, according to this article from Kiplinger. The form contains information about the nondeductible contributions to their traditional IRA and will help them determine their tax liability on their future withdrawals. The nondeductible portion of their distributions will not be subject to taxes.