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WHAT'S NEW WITH THE FICA REFUND?

Most recent information issued by the IRS

Check out the memorandum issued by the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis and you'll see that the court found that medical residents and fellows might not be subject to FICA taxes in many instances.

For more information, go to our February, 2001 Newsletter or read through the IRS' Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum on this issue.

 

 


November, 2006

SOCIAL SECURITY MAX INCREASES TO $97,500 FOR 2007

by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA

Each year, the government bumps up the maximum social security taxes that you can pay. For 2007, the maximum wage base jumps to $97,500, an increase of $3,300 over the 2006 max of $94,200.

The Social Security Administration predicts that 11 million individuals will end up paying higher taxes due to this increase, out of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay social security taxes next year.

At a rate of 6.2%, the maximum social security taxes that your employer will withhold from your salary increases by $204.60, from $5,840.40 in 2006 to $6,045.00 in 2007.  In addition, your employer also withholds Medicare taxes from your pay at a rate of 1.45%. There is no limit on your wages subject to this tax.

Calculating the Self-employment Tax:

If you're self-employed and earn more than $400 in net profit from your business, you're subject to social security and Medicare taxes as well. Known as the "self-employment tax", you'll need to complete a Schedule SE to calculate this tax, and then report the amount due on page 2 of your Form 1040.

The self-employment tax is based on a social security tax rate of 12.4% and a Medicare tax rate of 2.9%. These rates are double those paid by employees, since a self-employed person must pay both the employee's portion and the employer's portion of both taxes.  Remember, when you work as an employee, your employer matches the social security and Medicare taxes withheld from your pay.

Unlike most other taxes, when dealing with self-employment taxes, the more you earn, the less you pay in taxes.  If you earn income as an employee and as an independent contractor, and your combined income exceeds $94,200 in 2006, make sure to complete Section B of the Schedule SE. Otherwise, your tax calculation will be incorrect and you'll end up overpaying your self-employment taxes.

Do You Work For More Than One Employer in 2006 and Earn More Than $94,200?

For 2006, each of your employers will withhold social security taxes from the first $94,200 that you earn from them.  If you work for more than one employer and your total salary from all sources exceeds that threshold, you'll have excess social security taxes withheld. Make sure to claim a credit for these excess taxes on your 1040 as additional federal taxes paid in.

For Example:

Let's say you work for two employers and earn $75,000 from each employer. Employer #1 will withhold $4,650 in social security taxes ($75,000 * 6.2%). Employer #2 will also withhold $4,650 in social security taxes - for a total of $9,300 in social security taxes withheld during the year. Since the maximum social security taxes that you should pay through payroll withholdings for 2006 is limited to $5,840.40, the excess of $3,459.60 counts as additional federal income taxes paid in by you.

A) Social security taxes withheld by Employer #1

$4,650.00

B) Social security taxes withheld by Employer #2

$4,650.00

C) Total social security taxes withheld during the year (A+B)

$9,300.00

D) Social security max for 2006

$5,840.40

E) Excess social security taxes withheld (C-D)

$3,459.60

www.ssa.gov

A great place to find out more about your social security taxes and projected benefits is at the Social Security Administration's website located at www.ssa.gov. 

FYI: The social security wage base has been increased each year. The wage base maximum has been increased as follows:

2007 wage base max: $97,500
2006 wage base max: $94,200
2005 wage base max: $90,000
2004 wage base max: $87,900
2003 wage base max: $87,000
2002 wage base max: $84,900
2001 wage base max: $80,400
2000 wage base max: $76,200
1999 wage base max: $72,600
1998 wage base max: $68,400
1997 wage base max: $65,400
1996 wage base max: $62,700
1995 wage base max: $61,200
1994 wage base max: $60,600

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IRS ANNOUNCES HIGHER RETIREMENT PLAN LIMITS FOR 2007

by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA

Contributing to a retirement plan is one of the best tax shelters available to you during your working years.  Recently, the IRS announced that most of the retirement savings limits will increase for 2007. 

Most working professionals have access to a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan at work.  Amounts contributed to these plans generally reduce your taxable earnings and always grow tax deferred.  For 2007, you can contribute up to $15,500 into a 401(k) or 403(b) plan through salary deferrals. 

Looking to set your 2007 monthly budget?  To max out your 401(k) or 403(b) salary deferrals next year, instruct your employer to withhold $1,291.67 per month from your pay.

Anyone 50 or older by December 31, 2007 can contribute an extra $5,000 into their 401(k) or 403(b) plan through salary deferrals next year, for a total annual contribution of $20,500, or $1,708.33 per month.

Many smaller employers offer their staff access to SIMPLE/IRAs instead.  SIMPLE's work just like 401(k) plans, which means it's up to you to fund the bulk of this retirement savings account through salary deferrals.  For 2007, the maximum contribution into your SIMPLE is $10,500, or $875.00 per month.  Anyone 50 or older by December 31st can sock away an additional $2,500 in 2007, for a total annual contribution of $13,000, or $1,083.33 per month.

Are you self-employed?  Each year, you can contribute up to 20% of your net self-employment income into a SEP IRA.  The maximum contribution for 2007 is $45,000, or $3,750 per month.

Solo 401(k)'s are an attractive alternative to many sole proprietors and business owners with no full time employees who work more than 1,000 hours per year besides a spouse.  If you don't have access to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan through another employer, the Solo 401(k) plan makes it easier for you to hit next year's max of $45,000.  If you're 50 or older, your maximum contribution into a Solo 401(k) jumps to $50,000, or $4,166.67 per month.

And don't forget about IRA's.  Even if you're covered under a retirement plan at work, you and your spouse can each contribute up to $4,000, or $333.33 per month, into a traditional IRA or Roth IRA next year, as long as your combined wages and net self-employment income exceeds the total amount contributed.  Anyone 50 or older can contribute an extra $1,000, increasing the total allowable contribution to $5,000, or $416.67 per month.

Most people won't be able to max out these tax-advantaged retirement options unless they get on a budget and put away a set amount of money each month.  With 2006 winding down, now's the time to start thinking about resetting your monthly retirement savings goals for 2007.

2007 Maximum Retirement Account Contributions


Retirement Savings Option
 
Under the age
 of 50
50 or older by December 31st

401(k) or 403(b)
 
$15,500
($1,291.67/month)
$20,500 ($1,708.33/month)

SIMPLE IRA
 
$10,500
($875.00/month)
$13,000 ($1,083.33/month)

SEP IRA
 
$45,000
($3,750.00/month)
$45,000
($3,750.00/month)

Solo 401(k)
 
$45,000
($3,750.00/month)
$50,000 or
($4,166.67/month)

IRA
 
$4,000
($333.33/month)
$5,000 ($416.67/month)

 

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TAX AND FINANCIAL PLANNING CALENDAR FOR NOVEMBER, 2006

Month

Income Taxes

Saving and Investing

 

 

 

November

  • Good time to make semi-annual donation of clothing and household items to charitable organizations.  Don't forget to make a list, including each item's condition, since only items "good or better" now qualify for deduction.
  • Need to make applicable elections in connection with employer's flexible spending account
  • Contact an MDTAXES CPA to discuss any year end tax planning questions or strategies
  • Determine whether to convert your IRAs to a Roth IRA if your income will be less than $100,000 this year
  • Order your free credit report from here

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2006 & 2007 TAX FACTS

  • For 2006, the standard deduction for a single individual is $5,150 and for a married couple is $10,300. A person will benefit by itemizing once allowable deductions exceed the applicable standard deduction. Itemized deductions include state and local income taxes (or sales taxes), real estate taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and unreimbursed employee business expenses.
  • For 2006, the personal exemption is $3,300. Individuals will claim a personal deduction for themselves, their spouse, and their dependents. 
  • The maximum earnings subject to social security taxes is $94,200 for 2006, and increases to $97,500 in 2007.
  • The standard mileage rate is $.445 per business mile for 2006.
  • The maximum annual contribution into a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan is $15,000 for 2006, increasing to $15,500 in 2007.  And if you'll be 50 or older by December 31, 2006, you can contribute an extra $5,000 into your 401(k) or 403(b) account this year.
  • The maximum annual contribution to your IRA is $4,000 for 2006 and 2007.  And if you turn 50 by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $1,000 that year.  You have until April 15, 2007 to make your 2006 IRA contributions. 

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copyright - 2006 - CPANiche, LLC

 


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Tax and financial planning calendar for November, 2006


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