Wealthy investors have been restructuring, shifting assets, and even moving in an effort to avoid tax increases enacted at the first of the year both on a federal and state level.
California and New Jersey, in particular, have raised taxes at the state level along with higher taxes ushered in by the late date Congressional agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.
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California taxpayers pay a top marginal rate of 50% based on combined federal and state tax hikes along with the 3.8% Medicare surcharge.
Some top earners are moving to Nevada, a much more tax-friendly state. Nevada has no state income tax and housing prices are quite attractive.
Texas is another income-tax free state that is drawing high earners from California. Other wealthy families who have trusts that own their businesses have redomiciled their trusts to South Dakota to take advantage of the favorable tax treatment there.
It’s difficult to pin down just how much influence taxes have on investor behavior. Weather, employment opportunities, children’s educational factors, and close proximity to family are other significant influences.
Many top earners say they wouldn’t mind paying the higher taxes
if they saw the money being used more constructively.