1. Sell stocks with long-term capital gains
But only if you were already planning to sell them. The reason: “The capital gains tax may be the same next year, but there’s a good chance it’ll be higher—and there’s no chance it’ll be lower,” says Bernard Kiely, president and chief compliance officer at Kiely Capital Management. Currently the long-term capital gains rate is 15 percent for most people; there’s a chance it will increase to 20 percent (23.8 percent for high earners) in 2013. Taking gains this year will help you avoid those higher tax rates.
Bottom line: If you were planning on selling in the next 6 to 12 months, do it now to take advantage of the 2012 tax rates.
2. Exercise stock options in 2012
The same premise applies here. If you’re already intending to exercise stock options in the near future, better to do it in…
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