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Top Earners Can Find Ways Around Buffett Rule

The highest-earning U.S. households have ways to escape President Barack Obama’s Buffett rule with tax-planning techniques that would limit their liability and undermine the proposal’s purpose.

Those affected taxpayers -- the fewer than 0.5 percent of Americans with annual incomes exceeding $1 million and tax rates of less than 30 percent -- could take advantage of tax-free investments such as municipal bonds to escape the Buffett rule’s bite. They also could time asset sales for maximum tax benefits, engage in transactions that don’t result in taxable income and make charitable contributions that yield deductions.