It's possible to lower your effective tax rate through a mix of tax-free income, tax deductions and credits, and the proper use of a tax deferral.
For information on the third coronavirus relief package, please visit our “American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check” blog post.
As you examine your taxes and seek ways to pay less, you might wonder if lowering your effective tax rate can help you reach that goal. The good news is that there are many legitimate options to lower your tax rate.
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Before we get to the list of options for lowering your tax rate, you should first understand the difference between your effective tax rate and your marginal tax rate.
Marginal and effective tax rates
The first term we'll discuss is the "marginal tax rate." This is the highest tax bracket by which your income will be taxed.
- For instance, if you're a single person whose taxable income was $60,000 in 2021, then you fall into the 22% tax bracket. Therefore, your marginal tax rate is 22%.
However, when talking about your marginal tax rate, it's important to understand how tax brackets work. Many people believe that your tax bracket (aka your marginal tax rate) determines the rate you pay in taxes for your total taxable income. But being in the 22% bracket does not mean that you'll pay 22% of your income in taxes.
It is true that the higher taxable income you have, the more you will pay in taxes. But it's important to understand that the higher tax rate only applies to the amount of income above the minimum amount for that tax bracket.
Figuring out your tax liability, or how much you owe based on tax brackets, is easier to understand if you look at an example.
- So, let's imagine a couple — John and Judy — that's married filing jointly, and both are under the age of 65.
- Together, their taxable income in 2021 was $86,000.
This chart explains how much they will pay in taxes due to their marginal tax rate.
Based on this tax bracket for 2021, John and Judy will owe a total tax liability of $10,406.
- $1,990 + $7,327 + $1,089 = $10,406
Your “effective tax rate” is the average percentage of your taxable income that you owe in federal taxes. In order to calculate this rate, you simply divide your tax liability (what you owe) by your total taxable income.
- In our example above, the effective tax rates calculation for John and Judy would be $10,406 divided by $86,000.
- Therefore, their effective tax rate is about 12%, which is much lower than their marginal tax rate of 22%.
It's useful to know your effective tax rate so that you can make informed budget and planning decisions and lower your tax liability.
Options for lowering your effective tax rates
Now that you understand the term "effective tax rates," let's discuss how you can lower that percentage in order to minimize the amount you owe in taxes.
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Consider tax-free income opportunities
Remember that the tax brackets and tax rates only apply to taxable income. There are several opportunities for you to make income or invest your income so that it isn't taxable.
Some common types of tax-free income and investments include:
- Financial gifts received from others
- Disability insurance payments
- Qualified withdrawals from a Roth IRA account
- Selling your home and meeting the requirements to exclude the gain
- Qualified municipal bonds interest income
Be strategic and smart about tax credits and deductions
As you make payments and purchases throughout the year, try to strategically plan them to maximize their effectiveness on your taxable income and tax rate. Additionally, it helps to keep some of the most common tax credits and deductions in mind, so you know what you’re working toward when it comes time to file.
- Child and dependent care tax credit
- Education tax credits
- Adoption tax credit
- Investment interest expense deduction
- Charitable donations deductions
- Casualty and theft losses deductions
- Medical expenses deductions
- Mortgage interest and points deductions
Whether you’re setting yourself up for success at the beginning of the year or making adjustments in the latter half, there are multiple options for lowering your effective tax rate and paying less when the tax deadline comes.
To start, use a tax bracket calculator to understand your marginal tax rate and your effective tax rate. From there, you can consider applicable credits and deductions you qualify for and be well on your way to minimizing your taxes.
Remember, with TurboTax, we'll ask you simple questions about your life and help you fill out all the right tax forms. With TurboTax, you can be confident your taxes are done right, from simple to complex tax returns, no matter what your situation.stimulus coronavirus municipal bonds bonds stimulus
Five things you can do to help you have a more positive birth experience
Becoming a parent can be nerve-wracking – but there are many things you can do to feel more in control.
Whether you’re a first time parent or have had children before, you’re probably willing to try anything to ensure you have the most positive birth experience you can. After all, the kind of birth experience you have can not only affect your own mental health, but can have an affect on parent-child bonding, as well as partner-to-partner relationships for years after giving birth.
It can be confusing to know what to expect or where to turn to for advice, especially as maternity services have changed due to falling staff numbers and the continued impact of COVID-19. But here are a few things you can do yourself as you navigate your maternity care, which may help you have a more positive birth experience:
1. Get educated
Studies have shown that signing up for antenatal classes can help reduce fear, depression and anxiety – both during pregnancy and after birth.
Typically, antenatal classes will help you understand what’s happening to your body during pregnancy and explain the birth process. They may also teach you coping strategies to help relax during labour, alongside guidance on caring for your new baby. Antenatal classes can also be a great way of meeting other parents going through the same thing as you.
Another option is creating a personalised care and support plan, which is offered by most NHS trusts in the UK. This is a tool you can use with your care providers to explore what’s important to you – and discuss what your range of options are, such as your preferred place of birth, or whether you prefer skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth.
Understanding what your body’s going through, and making a personalised plan for your birth, may help you feel more prepared and less anxious about what to expect.
2. Know your carers
Being cared for by one nominated midwife, or being assigned to a team of familiar midwives, is shown to be associated with better outcomes for you and your baby – including decreased chance of having a premature labour and lower likelihood of needing interventions (such as birth with the help of forceps). You’re also more likely to be satisfied with your overall experience.
When an allocated midwife is not an option this makes choosing the right birth partners crucial. They can not only offer you reassurance, encouragement and support but can be your advocate, help you try different positions in labour and help provide you with snacks and drinks. Most typically these would be trusted loved ones. But be aware that research shows birth partners may also feel anxious or overwhelmed at taking on this role, and may struggle with seeing a loved one in pain – so it’s important to be realistic about your expectations, and choose the right person. It may be the best birth partner for you is a close friend or relative.
3. Challenge care recommendations if you aren’t happy
There are likely to be many other options available to you – such as where you might give birth, or how you want to be cared for during labour.
During antenatal appointments be sure to pause, think and ask about benefits, risks and alternatives to the care being proposed. Research shows how important choice and personalised care are for expectant parents who want their voices and preferences to be acknowledged, and to receive consistent advice.
If you have concerns over a suggestion your care providers have made or have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Take your birth partner with you if you prefer, who can empower you to ensure your voice is heard. After all, care providers are duty bound to ensure you make fully informed choices.
4. Don’t always listen to your friends and family
Once people hear you have a baby on the way it seems everyone feels the need, without asking, to tell you the full (and often graphic) details of their own children’s birth.
But it’s perfectly acceptable to politely change the subject if you don’t want to listen, or if hearing these stories makes you nervous or worry. It’s also worth remembering that each person has a different labour and birth, even with their own children – so what was true for someone else is likely not to be the same for you. While it can be helpful for some people to debrief after the birth, it’s okay to avoid hearing this yourself if it makes your nervous, and maybe suggest they speak with a professional about their experience instead of telling you.
5. Visit your preferred place of birth
Many maternity units are now opening up their doors again to tours and informal visits – and those that aren’t are doing this virtually.
Becoming familiar with where you might give birth – even down to where you might park on the day – can help you feel more confident about giving birth. It may also remove some of the unknown, helping you regain a sense of control – which in itself is linked to a more positive birth experience.
For those planning a homebirth, speak to your midwife about how you can improve your space to facilitate the most safe and positive experience. For one of the most important days of your life, visualising where this will take place ahead of time can help you feel more confident and in control.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no one can predict exactly how your labour and birth journey will go. Even after heeding the above steps – there’s always a chance you may need to consider a plan B, C or even D. But no matter what, remember you’ve done your very best, and you’re not likely to repeat this exact experience the next time.
Claire Parker does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.depression covid-19 uk
Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support?
A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year,…
A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year, after only in 2020 it had traded in negative territory.
Futures contracts settle daily, and back in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand for oil declined sharply, clearinghouses let the futures contracts settle below zero for the first time ever.
Since then, however, the market has bounced dramatically. Few traders have bet on energy prices, especially because in the last years, the rise of the ESG meant many investments fleeing the energy field.
But supply chain issues, monetary and fiscal stimulus during the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are major drivers in the energy space. After reaching $130/barrel, the WTI crude oil price has corrected but found strong support at the $100/barrel area.
The recent bounce in the last few days came from Macron’s comments during the G7 meeting. He said that the United Arab Emirates does not have spare capacity to produce more oil, something confirmed yesterday by the UAE authorities.
UAE is producing at maximum capacity based on its OPEC+ agreements. Therefore, the price of oil should remain bid on every dip.
A triangular pattern forms on the daily chart
The technical picture looks bullish while the price remains above horizontal support seen at the $100/barrel. Moreover, a confluence area given by both horizontal and dynamic support made it difficult for the market to extend its decline.
As such, a triangular pattern suggests more upside in the price of oil. A triangle may act as both a continuation and a reversal pattern, and traders focus on a breakout above or below the upper or the lower trendline.
Furthermore, every attempt to the downside since last March was met with more buying. Therefore, it is hard to argue with the bullish case, especially since the series or higher lows remains intact.
All in all, the WTI crude oil price remains bullish, and the triangular pattern may break either way. However, as long as the $100 level holds, the bias is to the upside.
The post Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support? appeared first on Invezz.stimulus pandemic covid-19 stimulus oil ukraine
Preventing the next pandemic: Learning the lessons
In the first of a three part series, Ben Hargreaves looks at what the odds are of another
The post Preventing the next pandemic: Learning the lessons appeared…
In the first of a three part series, Ben Hargreaves looks at what the odds are of another pandemic arising in our lifetimes and what can be done to lower the risk of this happening again.
The current pandemic is still very much underway. The question is, as one study was recently entitled, whether the current phase brings the world closer to the end of the pandemic or just to the end of the first phase? What is clear is that due to vaccines and therapeutics, the critical early phase of the pandemic is over. As the article suggests, what could lie ahead is a process of learning how to live with a persistent circulation of the virus and, with this, consistent spikes of cases, likely occurring periodically and more often in the winter months.
With the current pandemic refusing to dissipate, the discussions around future pandemics become more difficult to countenance. As identified very early into the current pandemic by the WHO, there is the risk of fatigue arising over long-term global health crisis response, which becomes an issue when acknowledging that the current times we’re living through could happen again. Research has suggested that in any given year there is a 2.5 to 3.3% chance of a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 occurring. Not only this, the expectation is that such events are becoming more likely, with estimations that the probability of outbreaks such as the current pandemic will likely grow three-fold in the next few decades.
The acceptance that there will potentially be another pandemic within many people’s lifetimes underlines the importance of using the emergence of COVID-19 to better protect ourselves against the next threat. Although it’s come at a high cost, the world is now in a strong position to prepare itself, with the lessons from the current pandemic still fresh in mind.
One clear benefit is that the pharmaceutical industry has proven that it is able to develop and safely deliver vaccines in a much shorter timeframe than usual. A typical vaccine development timeline takes between five and 10 years; the vaccines approved for COVID-19 emerged much more quickly.
Though the next pandemic could prove to be a more complicated target to vaccinate against, the success of the vaccines and the financial gains that were achieved would see companies eager to engage in development. Already, the industry is seeing greater research and funding being diverted back into vaccine development, with mRNA vaccines holding particular interest. This should see a pipeline of vaccine candidates better stocked than on the emergence of COVID-19, if this can be sustained into the future.
However, the work required to prevent the next pandemic is far broader than vaccines and therapeutics, which are essentially the last defence. In the future, the entire global health system will need to change to become more resilient, which requires many individual changes but can be broken down it smaller, logical actions that have outsized outcomes. One such action is simply coordination at the highest levels.
There were warning signs prior to COVID-19 that a pandemic could be possible, with the outbreaks of Zika and Ebola viruses, both of which have occurred intermittently for years but had attained wider notoriety after bigger outbreaks in the last decade. Despite this, coordinated efforts on the response to the current pandemic lacked cohesion – many countries adopted different methods of combatting the spread of the virus and containment. Once vaccines were on the market, countries competed against one another for access, thereby denying them to the countries without the economic firepower to match.
A recent report for the G20 group of nations, on preventing the next pandemic, concluded: “It requires establishing a global governance and financing mechanism, fitted to the scale and complexity of the challenge, besides bolstering the existing individual institutions, including the
WHO as the lead organisation. A primary one is training and hiring adequate levels of health workers.”
The report broke down four major gaps that need to be addressed, on a global and national level, to be able to respond more quickly, equitably and effectively when further pandemics occur:
- Globally networked surveillance and research: To prevent and detect emerging infectious diseases
- Resilient national systems: To strengthen a critical foundation for global pandemic preparedness and response
- Supply of medical countermeasures and tools: To radically shorten the response time to a pandemic and deliver equitable global access
- Global governance: To ensure the system is tightly coordinated, properly funded and with clear accountability for outcomes
Spending money to save money
The hiring of additional healthcare workers, the build-out of surveillance systems, support provided for R&D into infectious diseases, and the creation of a stockpile of medical countermeasures all require funds. This is a major question of the report for world leaders: Whether there is the appetite for further funding into pandemic preparation? The global economy has taken and continues to feel the financial blow of COVID-19.
However, the report calls for more public funding to be put into health in the coming years, with the authors stating that approximately 1% of GDP must be committed by low- and middle-income countries. In terms of funding for international efforts for preventing the next pandemic, the figure is estimated at $15 billion per year, sustained for the coming years. Compared to the sums spent on vaccines and therapeutics during the current pandemic, the investment is far lower and will help boost what the report calls, “a dangerously underfunded system.”
Beyond all action is a tactic for mitigating pandemics that is known as primary prevention. Fundamentally, this means going before all of the previously discussed methods to tackle the virus at the root cause.
Research has called for greater emphasis to be put on elements that prevent virus spillover, where a virus jumps species. The authors identify three areas where a difference can be made: reduced deforestation, better management of the wildlife trade and hunting, and better surveillance of zoonotic pathogens before any human is infected. The authors suggest that even a 1% reduction in risk of viral zoonotic disease emergence would make any efforts in this direction cost-effective. They end their study, stating, “Monothetic ‘magic bullets,’ including diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines, failed to control COVID-19 as it spread around the globe and exacted the largest health and economic toll of any pathogen in recent history. This makes plain that we cannot solely rely upon post-spillover strategies to prevent a similar fate in the future.”
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