(Bloomberg) The higher tax rates passed by Congress this year have some top U.S. earners seeking last-minute strategies to lower their tax bite as year-end calculations turn up unpleasant surprises.

“There are many, many high-income taxpayers now who are finding themselves facing tax rates in excess of 50 percent,” said Suzanne Shier, a tax strategist and director of wealth planning at Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. “That really gets their attention.”

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