A Health Savings Account—HSA—allows employees covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to take a deduction for Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for contributions to an IRA type account to pay for or to be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses. This article will explain the eligibility rules regarding qualified individuals, limits on contributions and withdrawals, treatment of distributions, reporting contributions and distributions on form 1040 and supporting schedules.
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A ruling by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) creates a significant obstacle to a new type of health care network that the Obama administration has promoted as a way to provide better care at lower cost, at least according industry lawyers and providers. Health care markets are rapidly changing as independent doctors and hospitals race to form networks, otherwise known as accountable care organizations, in which they coordinate care for patients. The doctors and hospitals have financial incentives to keep patients healthy and to control costs, and they can share in the savings if they meet performance goals. The new entities, which now cover more than 28 million people, according to Leavitt Partners, help manage care for Medicare beneficiaries, people with employer-sponsored insurance, and consumers who buy coverage through online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.
In order for alimony payments made under pretrial order to be deductible (for Adjusted Gross Income) and taxable to the ex-spouse, the following conditions must be met:
(1) Payments must be made in cash
(2) Payments are received under a divorce or separate maintenance court decree
(3) The divorce or separation agreement does not designate the payment as something other than alimony (for example, a property settlement)
(4) The payer spouse and recipient spouse are not members of the same household at the time the payments are made
(5) There is no requirement to make the payments after the payer or recipient’s death.
The credits for education are based on eligible expenses paid in the current year for academic periods beginning in the current year and/or the first three months of the following year. In a recent case, a student paid tuition of $5,895 in December 2011 for the spring 2012 semester that started February 1.
Mortgage Broker – No Self Employment Tax.
A broker who managed mortgages received a fee when he sold his house used as a personal residence. He reported the commission as self employment income but the IRS said he has to pay self- employment tax on the commission. The Tax Court overruled the IRS stating that the commission was not subject to selfemployment tax because the sale relates to a personal transaction [Guarino, TC Sum. Op. 201612].
Deduction Denied for Amounts Paid to Children. Read more
American Opportunity Credit The tax law passed by Congress in December 2015 extended many provisions retroactive to January 1, 2015 and made many of them permanent. Taxpayers who qualify for the deductions and credits but did not take advantage of them on their 2015 return, can file an amended return to use them. They should also be aware of the ones made permanent and use them in preparing future returns.This article discusses the major provisions to help taxpayers save taxes.
(Some information was reported by The Kiplinger Tax Letter (December 2015)
Timing of year-end contributions: Contributions made by check are deductible in 2015 if the check is mailed by year-end. If payment is made by bank credit card, it is deductible in 2015 if the charge is made by year-end. It doesn’t matter hen the credit card payment is made. If the donation is made with a retail store credit card, the deduction cannot be taken until the card is paid, even though it was charged in
Donations of securities and other property:
This is an excellent way to make a contribution without paying cash. Taxpayers can deduct the fair value of the securities on the date of the gift. Donating appreciated securities Read more
1. Earned income (EITC).
Taxpayers with no children it is $503, with one child $3,359, two qualifying children $5,548, three qualifying children $6,342 but are subject to AGI phaseouts. The recent tax law makes permanent the increase of $5,000 in the phaseout amount for joint filers scheduled to expire after 2017. The law also makes permanent the increased 45% credit percentage for taxpayers with three or more qualifying children. Under prior law, both increases had been available only through 2017. It also makes permanent the reduced earned income threshold of $3,000. The law makes the following provisions permanent:
(a) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Required. The EITC is denied with respect to any taxable year for which the taxpayer has a TIN that has been issued after the due date for filing the return, including extensions. Read more
The basic amount for single taxpayers is $6,300, married filing joint and surviving spouse $12,600, married filing separate $6,300 (zero if one spouse itemizes because on separate returns both spouses must either itemize or use the standard deduction), and head of household $9,250. The additional standard deduction is $1,550 for singles and head of household, $1,250 for married filing joint and surviving spouse. The standard deduction for those claimed as a dependent on another return can’t exceed the lesser of (1) $6,300 or (2) the greater of $1,050 plus earned income. Read more
DEFERRED RETIREMENT PLANS LIMITATION
1. 401(K). The maximum contribution is $18,000 but increases to $24,000 if age 50 and older (up to $6,000 in catch-up contributions).
2. Defined Benefit Plans. The maximum benefit amount is $210,000.
3. Defined contribution plan [e.g 401(k), 403(b)) and 457]. The maximum contribution is the lesser of $53,000 or 100% of compensation.
4. Regular and Roth IRA. The maximum contribution is $5,500 plus a $1,000 catch up contribution if age 50 and older. Taxpayer must have earned income. Read more