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Welcome to Plante Moran's 2012 Year-End Tax-Planning Guide.

On the surface, an orchestra may seem like an unlikely metaphor for tax planning. After all, what do oboes and trombones have in common with taxes? Well, it comes down to “orchestration.” In an orchestra, the families of instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and keyboards) combine to produce something more than the sum of their parts. If you’re missing any of the families, an orchestra you do not have. The same orchestration applies for tax planning; federal, state and local, and international taxes must be combined — with an eye on future changes — to produce an effective tax plan.

If Plante Moran’s tax team is the orchestra, then its National Tax Office (NTO) is its conductor. Day in, day out, the NTO keeps a close eye on tax legislation and developing trends. Having a close eye on the trends is particularly important this year as tax rates are scheduled to increase next year.

This year’s Tax Guide reviews the changing and increasingly complex tax environment with sections that focus on planning for rate increases, new taxes resulting from health care reform, and changes to estate and gift taxes — all scheduled for 2013. In addition, it contains thoughts on business entity selection and how to make your investing tax-efficient. As an encore, updates and planning opportunities in state and local and international taxes are provided. Only by considering all of these areas in concert can you develop and execute the right strategy for you and your business. You can think of this year’s Guide as a harmonious overture of tax chords gleaned from our pitch-perfect analysis.

If you identify some flat notes in your tax plan after perusing the Guide, don’t hesitate to call any of the tax maestros found in your local Plante Moran office. They can help you get your tax plan in tune as year-end is approaching at a presto pace.

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