Posts Tagged ": Adjusted gross income"

Savings bonds are tax-smart for college savings

Posted on Sep 3, 2013

Amid the evolving assortment of education tax breaks is a benefit that has survived with few changes over the years: the education savings bond program. When you qualify for this federal income tax exclusion, the interest you receive from bonds redeemed to pay for certain college expenses may be tax-free. Are bonds you bought years ago eligible? It depends on when you bought them and how they’re titled. Eligible bonds include Series EE or Series I savings bonds you purchased after 1989, as long as you were at least 24 years old when they were issued. The age restriction rules out bonds you put in the names of your kids or grandkids, though the children can be named as beneficiaries. Once you’re sure your bonds qualify for the exclusion, the next step is to find out if you meet the income limitation. In 2013, you can exclude all the interest income you receive from eligible savings bonds when you file a joint return and your modified adjusted gross income is less than $112,050 ($74,700 for singles). A partial exclusion is available until your income reaches $142,050 ($89,700 for singles), at which point the exclusion is no longer available. Finally, the bonds must be redeemed in the same year you pay qualifying educational expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent child. What expenses qualify? The definition includes tuition and fees that you pay out-of-pocket and for which you claim no other deduction or credit. You can also claim the exclusion when you use the bond proceeds to fund a 529 college savings plan or a Coverdell education savings account. Savings bonds offer additional, less restrictive opportunities for education and tax planning. For instance, it may make sense to put the bonds in your child’s name and report the interest on an annual basis. Depending on your child’s income, the interest could remain tax-free. Alternatively, you may choose to defer recognizing interest on bonds issued in your child’s name until the bonds are redeemed. Please call us to discuss these strategies and others that can help ease the burden of college...

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New Medicare taxes take effect in 2013

Posted on Feb 26, 2013

The 2010 health care reform legislation included several provisions that go into effect this year. Among them is the increase in Medicare taxes for taxpayers with incomes above certain levels. Here is an overview of these two new taxes. FIRST, the payroll Medicare tax will increase from 1.45% of wages to 2.35% on amounts above $200,000 earned by individuals and above $250,000 earned by married couples filing joint returns. The tax increase will also apply to self-employment income exceeding the threshold amounts. Employers are required to withhold the additional tax from wages exceeding $200,000, regardless of the individual’s filing status. They are not required to inform the employee when they begin the additional withholding, nor are they required to match the additional withholding. SECOND, there is a new 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $200,000 and married couples with income over $250,000. The tax will apply to the lesser of (a) net investment income, or (b) the amount by which modified adjusted gross income exceeds the $200,000 / $250,000 thresholds. The tax may require adjustments to the estimated taxes paid by an individual, but it does not have to be withheld from wages. Examples of unearned income include interest, dividends, capital gains, royalties, and rental income. Social security benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, and distributions from most retirement plans are examples of unearned income not subject to this new...

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