Federal Tax Law Changes Update 03: Probably the most distributed email for the past month
has been a scare message (Subject: Tax Hikes in 2011) that talks about what would be in three waves the largest tax hike in history starting in January 2011. While the intent of the email is to tie in the increases in taxes and changes in law directly to President Obama‘s redistribution of income‘ scheme and some of the items in the email are directly related to the President’s health care bill, there are several items that should be of concern to citizens. The partisan language at the conclusion of the email is not warranted, and the assertion that this is an attempt to force America to ‘Soviet style Socialism and then Communism‘ is simply a scare tactic. So let‘s drop the partisanship and examine the particular items. MOAA sat down with their resident financial expert, Phil Dyer, CFP, and went over the list item by item. Their thoughts in brackets follow corresponding items:
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief. In 2001 and 2003, the Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families which are all scheduled to expire on 1 JAN 2011. [These changes would become the regulations and terms only if Congress did not act to extend the cuts]:
Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is: The 10%, 28%, 33%, and 35% brackets rises to an expanded 15%, 28%, 31%, 36%, and 39.6% respectively. [It is extremely unlikely that the tax brackets will not be extended, especially for anyone making under less than $200k annually or $250k for families filing jointly.]
Higher taxes on marriage and family. The ―marriage penalty‖ (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut. [This would be something that would hit the most American families directly and, by MOAA's estimations, has about as much chance of expiring as the Rams have of winning the Super Bowl this year.]
The return of the Death Tax. There is a 55% top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones. [This has a high probability of coming back in some incarnation, but it is extremely unlikely that the rate will be for estates worth over $1 million.]
Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from to 20% and the dividends tax will rise to 39.%. These rates will rise another 3.8% in 2013. [Will most likely increase in 2013 vice 2011.].
Second Wave: Obamacare. [Can hardly be considered a historic wave of new taxes and affects a much smaller portion of the populace than the email implies.]
Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines
A cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500. [For most people, the $2500 cap won’t be noticed.]
Additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA increases to 20%,
Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and Employer Tax Hikes. [Would only be an issue if Congress failed to enact an extension to the yearly fix that ensures that the number of families affected remains low.]
Without indexing families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level.
Small business expensing will be slashed to $25,000 maximum and 50% expensing for larger businesses
Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. [The fate of any increases are, at worst, still up in the air, and at best, an almost sure-to-pass group of extensions. Especially in a hot mid term election year, MOAA expects Congress to ensure that these changes don’t come into effect.]
The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be
disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. [Expired at the end of 2009.]
The W-2/1099R/1042S tax forms sent by a private concern or governmental body gross income figure will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given. [The amount is not taxable and does not factor into your tax brackets.]
[Source: MOAA News Exchange 8 Sep 2010 ++]
Jose M. Garcia
Past National Commander
Catholic War Veterans,USA
Better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot.
In God We Trust