Tax Rates & Retirement Contribution Limits for Individuals & Married Filers in 2019

As we begin gathering up tax documents in anticipation of filing 2018 tax returns, it is also a good time to look ahead to our expected tax liability for 2019. Now is the perfect time to make any adjustments to withholding rates or retirement contributions for this year.

Each year, the IRS adjusts tax brackets to account for inflation. The following brackets took effect on January 1, 2019.

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New U.S. Tax Law – New Tax Rates for Businesses in 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in December 2017 created sweeping new tax law changes. This article is about businesses and entities. For more information about changes to individual and family income taxation in 2018, see this article.

The following rates took effect January 1, 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

New U.S. Tax Law – Options to Consider in the Final Days of 2017

A sweeping new tax law has just passed in the final days of 2017. Given the swift passage of this legislation so close to year-end, taxpayers have been left with limited time to respond proactively. Nonetheless, below are some last-minute options you may have for reducing your taxes due for 2017 (for tax returns prepared in 2018 for tax year 2017). Learn more about this new, December 2017 U.S. tax law that takes effect January 1, 2018 here.

Taking action in this final week of December, 2017 may be helpful for three reasons: 1) itemized deductions will be limited beginning in 2018, 2) tax rates are generally higher in 2017, rendering deductions more valuable in tax year 2017, and 3) ‘lumping’ itemized deductions, such as charitable contributions, together every few years may become more common under the new tax rules given the higher standard deduction and limitations to itemized deductions. Read the rest of this entry »

The End of File and Suspend for Social Security

(Congress Plans to Close Social Security “Loopholes”)

This week, budget legislation (Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015) passed in Congress to remove the ability for spouses to take advantage of the Social Security strategy commonly known as file and suspend. Previously, the file and suspend strategy allowed Spouse A, at full retirement age, to file and suspend their own retirement benefits to earn delayed retirement credits. This also allowed Spouse B to begin receiving a spousal Social Security benefit at that time (while earning delayed retirement credits on Spouse B’s benefits as well). The new law prevents a spouse from claiming a spousal benefit and later switching to their own benefit.

This strategy, often debated as a “loophole” by some, became possible in 2000, when Congress passed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act. This allowed voluntary suspension of Social Security benefits for people who had already claimed, and then changed their mind and wanted to suspend them later.

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