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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 2012

SOCIAL SECURITY MAX INCREASES TO $113,700 FOR 2013

by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA

Each year, the government bumps up the maximum Social Security taxes that you can pay.  For 2013, the maximum wage base jumps to $113,700, an increase of $3,600, or 3.3%, over the max of $110,100 that was in place for 2012. 

The Social Security Administration predicts that 10 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 is $7,049.  This is $2,425 higher than the 2012 max of $4,624.  Remember, the rate for the employee portion of the Social Security tax was reduced to 4.2% for 2011 only, and was then extended through 2012.  Not only will high-income individuals pay Social Security taxes on an extra $3,600 in 2013, they, like all workers paying into the system, will also do so at a higher rate.

Higher Medicare Taxes Due To The Affordable Care Act:

As we wrote in our August 2012 Newsletter, on June 28th, the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the increase to the Medicare taxes high-income taxpayers will pay starting in 2013.

Starting in 2013, the employee portion of the Medicare tax jumps from the current rate of 1.45% to 2.35% on earned income in excess of $200k for single individuals and $250k for married couples filing a joint tax return. As of now, the employer will continue to match their employees' Medicare taxes at a rate of 1.45%, which means the total Medicare tax will be 3.8% for high-income taxpayers.

For example, if you're single, and earn $500k from your job, expect to pay $2,700 in additional Medicare taxes (($500k - $200k) * .9%) for 2013.

To increase taxes for high-income individuals even more, the Medicare tax will also apply to unearned income for the first time since this tax was enacted. People over the $200k or $250k threshold should expect to pay Medicare taxes at a rate of 3.8% on interest, dividends, capital gains, and net rental income beginning in 2013. You will pay this tax in addition to any federal and state income taxes due on this income.

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 10.4% 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 $110,100 in 2012, 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 2012 and Earn More Than $110,100?

For 2012, each of your employers withholds social security taxes from the first $110,100 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 $3,150 in social security taxes ($75,000 * 4.2%). Employer #2 also withholds $3,150 in social security taxes - for a total of $6,300 in social security taxes withheld during the year. Since the maximum social security taxes that you should pay through payroll withholdings for 2012 is limited to $4,624, the excess of $1,814 counts as additional federal income taxes paid in by you.

A) Social security taxes withheld by Employer #1

$3,150.00

B) Social security taxes withheld by Employer #2

$3,150.00

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

$6,300.00

D) Social security max for 2012

$4,624.00

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

$1,676.00

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:

2013 wage base max: $113,700
2012 wage base max: $110,100
2009, 2010 & 2011 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


THE IRS HAS AN APP FOR THAT

New IRS2Go Offers Three More Features 

IRS has released a new version of IRS2Go, a smartphone application that lets you interact with the IRS using your mobile device. Three new features are available, providing access to video, news updates and more tax information.

New! Watch Us
IRS2Go delivers video from the IRS YouTube channel to your mobile device. As IRS launches new videos on YouTube, the videos are automatically featured on IRS2Go.

New! Get the Latest News
IRS news is available via IRS2Go as soon as it is released to the public. This feature allows you to learn about new programs, legislative updates and relevant tools to help you navigate taxes and the IRS.

New! Get Your Tax Record
You can request your tax return or account transcript using your smartphone. IRS2Go allows you to request this information, which will be mailed to you within several business days.

Get Your Refund Status
You can check the status of your federal income tax refund using IRS2Go. Simply enter your Social Security Number, which will be masked and encrypted for security purposes, then select your filing status and enter the amount of your anticipated refund from your 2011 tax return. If you e-file your return, you can check your refund status within a few days. If you file a paper tax return, you will need to wait three to four weeks to check your refund status because it takes longer to process a paper return.

Get Tax Updates
You can also use IRS2Go to subscribe to filing season tax updates by entering your e-mail address to automatically get daily tax tips. Tax Tips can help you with your tax planning and preparation needs. They are issued daily during the tax filing season and periodically during the rest of the year. The plain English updates cover topics such as free tax help, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education credits and other topics.

Follow the IRS
Finally, you can use IRS2Go to sign up to follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews. IRSnews provides the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs.

Download the IRS2Go App
If you have an Apple iPhone or iTouch, you can download the free IRS2Go app by visiting the iTunes app store. If you have an Android device, you can visit the Android Marketplace to download the free IRS2Go app.

IRS2Go reflects IRS’ commitment to help you get the information you need — whenever you need it, wherever you are. The IRS shares the latest information on tax law changes, initiatives, products and services through various social media channels.

TOP


IRS ANNOUNCES HIGHER RETIREMENT PLAN LIMITS FOR 2013

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 many of the retirement savings limits will increase for 2013. 

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 2013, you can contribute up to $17,500 into a 401(k) or 403(b) plan through salary deferrals, up from $17,000 in 2012. 

Looking to set your 2013 monthly budget?  To max out your 401(k) or 403(b) salary deferrals next year, instruct your employer to withhold $1,458.33 per month from your pay.

Catch-up contributions remained the same as they were in 2012.  Anyone 50 or older by December 31, 2013 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 $23,000, or $1,916.66 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 2013, the maximum contribution into your SIMPLE increases to $12,000, or $1,000 per month.  Anyone 50 or older by December 31st can sock away an additional $2,500 in 2013, for a total annual contribution of $14,500, or $1,208.33 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 2013 is $51,000, or $4,250 per month, up from $50,000 in 2012.

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 $51,000.  If you're 50 or older, your maximum contribution into a Solo 401(k) jumps to $56,500, or $4,708.33 per month.  You have until December 31st to set up a Solo 401k for 2012.

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 $255,000 for 2013, up from $250,000  in 2012.

IRA's

Don't forget about IRAs.  Even if you're covered under a retirement plan at work, you and your spouse can each contribute up to $5,500 (up from $5,000 for 2012), or $458.33 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 $6,500, or $541.66 per month.

Along with a $500 increase to IRAs for 2013, there is more 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 $5,000 for married couples and by $2,000 for single individuals, as follows:

  Single Individuals Married Couples
Phase-out begins $112,000 $178,000
Phase-out ends $127,000 $188,000

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 or Keep on Converting in 2011 and Beyond, available in our March 2011 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 2013 phase-out range for your spouse making a deductible IRA contribution has increased to $178,000 - $188,000, which is identical to the Roth IRA phase-out limits.

Re-Set Your 2013 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 2012 winding down, now's the time to start thinking about resetting your monthly retirement savings goals for 2013.

2013 Maximum Retirement Account Contributions


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

401(k) or 403(b)
 
$17,500
($1,458.33/month)
$23,000
 ($1,916.66/month)

SIMPLE IRA
 
$12,000
($1,000.00/month)
$14,500
 ($1,208.33/month)

SEP IRA
 
$51,000
($4,250.00/month)
$51,000
($4,250.00/month)

Solo 401(k)
 
$51,000
($4,250.00/month)
$56,500 or
($4,708.33/month)

IRA
 
$5,500
($458.33/month)
$6,500
($541.66/month)

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TAX AND FINANCIAL PLANNING CALENDAR FOR NOVEMBER 2012

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.  Or, track your donation using the App, UDoGood.
  • Contact an MDTAXES CPA to discuss any year end tax planning questions or strategies
  • Determine whether  to convert your IRAs to a Roth IRA prior to 12/31/12.
  • Order your free credit report from here

 TOP


2012 & 2013 TAX FACTS

  • For 2012, the standard deduction for a single individual is $5,950 and for a married couple is $11,900. 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 2012, the personal exemption is $3,800. Individuals will claim a personal deduction for themselves, their spouse, and their dependents. 
  • The maximum earnings subject to social security taxes is $110,100 for 2012, increasing to $113,700 for 2013.
  • The standard mileage rate is $.555 per business mile as of July 1, 2011, up from $.51 per mile for the first six months of 2011.
  • The maximum annual salary deferral into a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan is $17,000 in 2012, increasing to $17,500 in 2013.  And if you'll be 50 or older by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $5,500 into your 401(k) or 403(b) account that year.
  • The maximum annual contribution to your IRA is $5,000 for 2012, increasing to $5,500 in 2013.  And if you turn 50 by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $1,000 that year.  You have until April 15, 2013 to make your 2012 IRA contributions. 

TOP

Need Help With Your Nanny Payroll?
 

This Month's Topics

Social Security Max Increases To $113,700 For 2013

The IRS Has An App For That

IRS Announces Higher Retirement Plan Limits For 2013

The FICA Refund for Medical Residents 

2012 & 2013 Tax Facts

Tax and Financial Planning Calendar for November 2012

 

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
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WHAT'S NEW WITH THE FICA REFUND?

In a shocking development, the IRS recently announced that they will be honoring the FICA tax refunds submitted by residency programs and individual doctors.  The catch is that only FICA taxes paid prior to 4/1/05 qualify.

For more information, go to our April 2010 Newsletter, our January 2009 Newsletter, or our February 2001 Newsletter or read through the IRS' Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum on this issue.

Let's work together to keep current on this hugely valuable tax break.  Please post whatever you read or hear regarding this FICA issue on our new Message Board we set up just for this topic.

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