From the August 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A New Kind of Taxpayer Advocacy

More On Tax Planning

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • IRAs: In General Individual Retirement Accounts are highly popular tools for contributing funds that grow on a tax deferred basis. Depending on the type of IRA, the accumulation can be tax free.
  • Annuities: Variable Annuities Annuities are hot. The tax rules vary with the circumstances. Advisors must be aware of these intricacies when discussing annuities with clients.

As a multitude of groups (see lead news story)--are making their voices heard in Washington, a smaller organization is just getting started in its advocacy efforts. The Institute of Mass Affluent Studies (imas.org) is meant to advocate for the mass affluent segment of American society, that segment of the population that the Institute argues in its "Premise" is the one that "provides economic leadership as a highly productive and essential component of the nation's financial resiliency and health. As a distinct economic group, this segment leads society in entrepreneurship, job creation, wealth generation, tax revenues, and charitable gifting." Yet unlike the poor and middle-class, and the wealthy, the Institute argues that this group has not received sufficient political consideration equal to its economic clout, nor has it been sufficiently studied. Moreover, the group argues that the mass affluent's "financial strength and leadership role has been damaged by the economic crisis and will be more so in the future with proposed disproportionate tax policy at all levels."

That's what the Institute hopes to redress through its "Advocacy Through Fact" approach. The Institute's president, Alec Farley, says the effort is "critical to preserve our economic engine," and using a boating analogy, argues "it is the sail of the mass affluent that needs wind for the U.S. economy to begin to make headway."

Mitch Politzer, president of Spectrem Consulting and formerly of Ameritas, says the issue "is becoming more prominent than ever," citing moves by the Administration on everything from an initiative to tax employee benefits to increased taxes for healthcare reform. Politzer says the Institute is not a lobbying group, but instead "wants to advocate fact" to get its point across, "by ferreting out facts and publishing them."

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