Upstream Basis Planning – The Smart Way to Reduce Your Taxes

There are various ways to reduce your taxable income, including a number of significant tax deductions, credits, and exclusions to look at. While there are dozens of deductions available to choose from, one that often gets overlooked is the option to reduce your capital gains (or income) taxes via the upstream basis method. This method allows you to calculate the cost basis after the sale of an investment or other capital asset. Find out more about this smart way to reduce your taxes by reading this quick guide on Upstream Basis Planning to reduce your Capital Gains Tax!

What is Upstream Basis?

Upstream Basis is using your estate plan to anticipate and plan for the event of a future sale of an asset. It involves an elderly and much less wealthy relative as an additional trust beneficiary.

How Upstream Planning Works

The Upstream Planning Method is a time-tested strategy that is not just for the rich. Anyone who has appreciated assets and wants to reduce their taxes can benefit from this approach. Let’s say you have an asset or investment with a cost of $150,000, then later sell it at $200,000. You’ll have a capital gain of $50,000 ($150,000 minus $50,000). However, you can avoid the capital gain by transferring appreciated assets to an older family member such as your parent(s). For example, if your father has a terminal illness and there are no other heirs, you could transfer your home to him. Once he dies, the house will be transferred to the heir – you. Once you sell the home, the basis for capital gains will be the fair value of the property at the date of death of your father and thus, decreasing or even eliminating the capital gain from the sale.

Upstream Power of Appointment

Upstream basis planning can save your heirs a significant amount of money in capital gains or income taxes. To accomplish this, you need to give the elderly family member a general power of appointment over the asset. This power of appointment allows them to make gifts or transfers of their property while alive. It’s wise to consult with your attorney when deciding who would be appointed, as they could potentially divert assets or reveal liabilities.

Upstream Basis Planning

The concept of upstream basis planning is simple: take advantage of opportunities to increase your basis in an investment before selling it. Doing so can reduce or eliminate any capital gains or income taxes that would be due on the sale. It is best to have an upstream basis planning expert guide you through this process, as there are many complex issues to consider when determining which investments are most appropriate for this type of planning. Contact a living trust lawyer at Lowthorp, Richards, McMillan, Miller & Templeman by calling (805) 981-8555 or fill out our online contact form here. We look forward to working with you!

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036