MDTAXES is a nationwide network of CPAs who specialize in the tax issues affecting healthcare professionals.

Find a CPA
Newsletters
Post a Question
PodCasts
Deduct your professional expenses
Track your professional expenses
Non-Cash Contribution Excel Worksheet * (or PDF version)
Listen About MDTAXES
Sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter.
Email:
CPAs: Join the Network
Not a healthcare professional?


NOTICE TO RESIDENTS OF MARYLAND

We are NOT affiliated with the State of Maryland. If you are looking for information about Maryland income taxes, please go to www.marylandtaxes.com.


Useful Links:

FindAGoodCPA.com - Not a healthcare professional?  Find a CPA or EA who understands the tax issues specific to you.

Nanny Taxes - Find out what's involved with complying with the Nanny Tax Rules

IRS Web Site - for tax forms, publications, and general tax information.

Exchange Authority - New England's first authority for IRC 1031 Exchanges

Cost Segregation Studies - Accelerate tax depreciation deductions on new and existing buildings through cost segregation studies

Social Security - find out the latest rules or your projected retirement benefit.

The Company Corporation offers fast, reliable & affordable incorporation and LLC services.


MONTHLY TAX NEWSLETTER

November 2008

SOCIAL SECURITY MAX INCREASES TO $106,800 FOR 2009

by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA

Each year, the government bumps up the maximum social security taxes that you can pay. For 2009, the maximum wage base jumps to $106,800, an increase of $4,800, or 4.7%, over the 2008 max of $102,000. 

The Social Security Administration predicts that 11 million individuals will end up paying higher taxes due to this increase, out of the estimated 164 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 $298, from $6,324 in 2008 to $6,622 in 2009.  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 $102,000 in 2008, 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 2008 and Earn More Than $102,000?

For 2008, each of your employers withholds social security taxes from the first $102,000 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 withholds $4,650 in social security taxes ($75,000 * 6.2%). Employer #2 also withholds $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 2008 is limited to $6,324, the excess of $2,976 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 2008

$6,324.00

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

$2,976.00

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:

2009 wage base max: $106,800
2008 wage base max: $102,000
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

TOP


BANK OF AMERICA'S "DOCTOR LOAN PROGRAM" IS STILL GOING STRONG

Few can deny that the mortgage market is a mess.  Even so, Bank of America remains committed to the Doctor Loan program.

"Even in today's market, this unique program offers doctors up to 100 percent financing with no PMI (private mortgage insurance)," says Bob Cahill, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer at Bank of America.  "But we need to keep in mind that in areas with declining home prices, a 5 percent down payment may be required."

"The reason that Bank of America can continue to offer this great opportunity to physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals is because the bank initially keeps these mortgages in their own portfolio.  The doctor loans were never immediately sold through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," explains Cahill. 

"Another benefit is that the bank omits student loans that are in deferment  as part of the loan approval.  There are also no income limitations for this product."

For more information about Bank of America's Doctor Loan Program, feel free to contact Bob Cahill at (781) 589-8756 or via Bob's e-mail.

TOP


IRS ANNOUNCES HIGHER RETIREMENT PLAN LIMITS FOR 2009

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 2009. 

Employer Sponsored Plans

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 2009, you can contribute up to $16,500 into a 401(k) or 403(b) plan through salary deferrals, up from $15,500 in 2008. 

Looking to set your 2009 monthly budget?  To max out your 401(k) or 403(b) salary deferrals next year, instruct your employer to withhold $1,375 per month from your pay.

Catch-up contributions got bumped up as well.  Anyone 50 or older by December 31, 2009 can contribute an extra $5,500 into their 401(k) or 403(b) plan through salary deferrals next year, for a total annual contribution of $22,000, or $1,833.33 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 2009, the maximum contribution into your SIMPLE is $11,500, or $958.33 per month.  Anyone 50 or older by December 31st can sock away an additional $2,500 in 2009, for a total annual contribution of $14,000, or $1,166.67 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 2009 is $49,000, or $4,083.33 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 $49,000.  If you're 50 or older, your maximum contribution into a Solo 401(k) jumps to $54,500, or $4,541.67 per month.

The IRS also announced that the maximum amount of wages and net self-employment income that you can use to determine certain retirement plan contributions has increased to $245,000 for 2009, up from $230,000  in 2008.

IRA's

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 $5,000, or $416.67 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 $6,000, or $500 per month.

While the maximum contribution to an IRA did not increase for 2009, there is some good news for people looking to contribute to a Roth IRA .  The amount you can earn and still contribute to a Roth has increased by $7,000 for married couples and by $4,000 for single individuals, as follows:

  Single Individuals Married Couples
Phase-out begins $105,000 $166,000
Phase-out ends $120,000 $176,000

If your income is too high for a Roth, don't forget that the rules changed a few years back, eliminating the income limitation as of 2010 for people looking to convert their IRAs to a Roth IRA.  This tax law change provides high-income taxpayers with a great opportunity to get money into these tax-free investment accounts.  For more information, please check out the article, The Re-Emergence of Non-Deductible IRAs, available on our March 2007 Newsletter.

And if you're married and your spouse isn't covered under either an employer sponsored or self-employed retirement plan during the year, the phase-out range for your spouse making a deductible IRA contribution has increased to $166,000 - $176,000, which is identical to the Roth IRA phase-out limits.

Re-Set Your 2009 Budget

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 2008 winding down, now's the time to start thinking about resetting your monthly retirement savings goals for 2009.

2009 Maximum Retirement Account Contributions


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

401(k) or 403(b)
 
$16,500
($1,375.00/month)
$22,000
 ($1,833.33/month)

SIMPLE IRA
 
$11,500
($958.33/month)
$14,000
 ($1,166.67/month)

SEP IRA
 
$49,000
($4,083.33/month)
$49,000
($4,083.33/month)

Solo 401(k)
 
$49,000
($4,083.33/month)
$54,500 or
($4,541.67/month)

IRA
 
$5,000
($416.67/month)
$6,000
($500.00/month)

TOP


TAX AND FINANCIAL PLANNING CALENDAR FOR NOVEMBER, 2008

Month

Income Taxes

Saving and Investing

 

 

 

November

  • Need to make applicable elections in connection with employer's flexible spending account
  • 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" qualify for deduction.
  • 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

 TOP


2008 & 2009 TAX FACTS

  • For 2008, the standard deduction for a single individual is $5,450 and for a married couple is $10,900. 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 2008, the personal exemption is $3,500. Individuals will claim a personal deduction for themselves, their spouse, and their dependents. 
  • The maximum earnings subject to social security taxes is $102,000 for 2008, increasing to $106,800 for 2009.
  • The standard mileage rate is $.585 per business mile as of July 1, 2008, up from $.505 per mile for the first six months of 2008.
  • The maximum annual contribution into a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan is $15,500 in 2008, increasing to $16,500 in 2009.  And if you'll be 50 or older by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $5,000 into your 401(k) or 403(b) account this year and an extra $5,500 next year.
  • The maximum annual contribution to your IRA is $5,000 for 2008.  And if you turn 50 by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $1,000 that year.  You have until April 15, 2009 to make your 2008 IRA contributions. 

TOP

You're Invited to Attend Our Complimentary Presentation on:

Tax and Basic Financial Planning Issues Applicable to Young Healthcare Professionals

Here is a list of cities where the presentation will be held:

Boston - 1/22/09
 

For more information, click on the name of the city.
 

**

This Month's Topics

Social Security Max Increases to $106,800 For 2009

Bank of America's "Doctor Loan Program" Is Still Going Strong

IRS Announces Higher Retirement Plan Limits For 2009

The FICA Refund for Medical Residents 

2008 & 2009 Tax Facts

Tax and Financial Planning Calendar for November 2008

 

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
Browse our index of previous months' newsletter topics

Need a Lawyer or
Financial Advisor?


Directory of Lawyers &
Directory of Financial Advisors
 Lists of MDTAXES-affiliated professionals experienced with the issues that affect you and your colleagues.

Not a Healthcare Professional?

Go to FindAGoodCPA.com to locate a tax professional in your metropolitan area based on the professional's specialty.

Need help with your MEDICAL BILLING?

Find out about Billing Depot, an innovative and proven web-based medical billing and EMR provider.

WHAT'S NEW WITH THE FICA REFUND?

May 2007 - District court ordered to vacate ruling that medical residents are not exempt from the FICA Tax.

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.

Copyright 2008 The MDTAXES Network by CPANiche, LLC    Email us at  info@cpaniche.com
Website Visitor Hit Counter