CCH 2012 Tax Briefings – West Jordan UT Accountant Special Report

West Jordan UT Accountant

Special Report

Obama Wins Second Term; Agreement On Taxes/Spending Possible By Year-End
President Obama secured a second term in office November 6, 2012, in the end winning the Electoral College by a wide margin. The President’s re-election now sets in motion what will likely be difficult negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts, nearly $100 billion in automatic spending cuts, and the more than 50 expiring tax extenders, which include the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch for tens of millions of taxpayers. The President’s re-election has also significantly changed the dynamics for reaching an eventual agreement over long-term tax reform.

Year-end tax strategies will demand more urgent attention from higher-income taxpayers as the result of President Obama’s re-election. The President has consistently called for higher tax rates on individuals with incomes above $200,000 and families with incomes above $250,000 and continuation of the current lower tax rates for others. He campaigned on reinstatement of the 36 percent and 39.6 percent income tax rates for higher-income individuals. The President also advocated a maximum capital gains rate increase from 15 percent to 20 percent and a dividend rate rise from 15 percent to 36 percent or 39.6 percent for higher-income taxpayers. His re-election also ensures that the 3.8 percent Medicare contribution surtax on net investment income will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and continue into the foreseeable future.
Before the election, President Obama had predicted Democrats and the GOP could reach a “grand bargain” that permanently resolves the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts, lowers the corporate tax rate and takes a serious step toward deficit reduction with revenue raisers within four to six months. In the interim, both sides may have to settle for a temporary extension of some of the expiring provisions, including some income tax rates, and leave the long-term fate of the Bush-era tax cuts and more to the 113th Congress, which will meet in January 2013.

Less than 24 hours after the results were in, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Democrats and Republicans should focus on “common ground” to address the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Lawmakers are due back in Washington on November 13. They will break for Thanksgiving later in November and will return in early December. Although the scheduled work period is short, there have been reports of lawmakers engaging in behind-the-scenes discussions about taxes and deficit reduction in the weeks before the election. These discussions could help kick-start serious negotiations between the White House and the GOP.

Whether any eventual compromise hammered out between Congress and the Obama Administration would extend lower income tax and capital gains/dividends rates for one more year, into 2013, or allow the higher top rates in 2013 to start at temporarily higher income levels than initially proposed, remains speculative. In the meantime, higher-income taxpayers must decide whether to wait-and-see … or secure the benefit of current rates now, through accelerating income, postponing deductions/credits, harvesting appreciation/capital gains, having closely-held corporations declare special dividends, closing business sales/acquisitions, and executing family gift-giving strategies—all before year end 2012. While it is not absolutely certain that tax rates will rise in 2013, it is more than certain that rates will never drop lower than they are now in 2012 for most higher-income taxpayers.

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CCH 2012 Tax Briefings – South Jordan UT Accountant POST-ELECTION CONGRESS

South Jordan UT Accountant


Winning the White House does not necessarily create a mandate for the President
to push through his full agenda. Nevertheless, President Obama’s power to veto
legislation for four more years will clearly shape upcoming negotiations.
Moreover, the 113th Congress retains its familiar profile of a Republican
majority in the House and Democratic majority in the Senate (but, as before,
without the 60 vote margin to prevent filibuster). Membership on the
Congressional tax writing committees for the most part also remains the same
after the elections as before. Compromise on issues that have been debated
throughout this past year—over both what is fair and what a still-fragile
economy can withstand— may be necessary on both sides of the aisle and in the
White House before any tax legislation can move forward.


In summer 2012, the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate
approved competing bills to extend some of the Bush-era tax cuts. The House
also approved a fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget resolution, which would
consolidate the current six individual income tax rates to two (10 and 25
percent), repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and reduce the corporate tax
rate to 25 percent. Neither the House nor Senate has approved any legislation
to extend the 2012 employee-side payroll tax holiday for one more year.

Areas of Service: South Jordan UT Accountant.

CCH 2012 Tax Briefings – LOOMING DEADLINES from Salt Lake City Accountant

Salt Lake City Accountant


Effective January 1, 2013:

• ▪ The Bush-era tax cuts, extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance
Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, expire;

• ▪ Across-the-board spending cuts take effect under the Budget Control Act of

• ▪ The employee-side payroll tax holiday ends;

• ▪ More tax extenders expire, joining the ranks of extenders that expired
after 2011.

Unlike 2010, when the Bush-era tax rates were extended for two years, any
extension of the Bush-era tax rates will most likely be accompanied by deficit
reduction measures. The extent of those deficit reduction measures is unclear
at this time. Among the likely potential revenue raisers are increased taxes on
higher-income individuals, accomplished through higher marginal rates and the
elimination or curtailment of certain tax preferences. Tax preferences that
might be targeted for repeal would most likely include those impacting business
taxpayers, such as certain oil and gas tax breaks and the last-in-first out
(LIFO) method of accounting.

One scenario calls for Congress approving an AMT patch and other popular
expiring extenders in the lame-duck session. The IRS maintains that it cannot
wait much longer to issue 2012 tax year forms without delaying the start of the
2013 filing season. Meanwhile, if the law isn’t changed, the Congressional
Budget Office estimates that over 20 million additional middle-income taxpayers
will become subject to the AMT without the so-called “AMT patch” for
2012. With 2012-focused tax legislation, however, there is also speculation
that Congress may buy itself some time by enacting a three-month extension of
Bush-era tax cuts (to be pro-rated over 2013). An extension of some sort may be
necessary because without it, wage withholding at the higher tax rates would
become mandatory for all taxpayers at all income levels.

Payroll tax holiday. Take home pay will also be immediately reduced if Congress
does not extend the employee-side payroll tax holiday, or enact some
replacement for it. The employee-share of OASDI is scheduled to return to 6.2
percent instead of 4.2 percent (up to the 2013 Social Security wage base of
$113,700). Proponents of an extension maintain that the economy cannot take the
hit on consumer spending that would result from a sunset of the payroll tax
holiday; opponents argue that it is temporary tax relief that the nation can no
longer afford.

CCH 2012 TAX BRIEFINGS – INDIVIDUALS – Salt Lake City Accountant

Salt Lake City Accountants


President Obama campaigned on a promise to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for lower and moderate income individuals, but to allow them to expire for higher-income individuals. The President is not expected to change his position after the election, but there could be some compromises on the income thresholds that trigger the higher rates.
Income Tax Rates

If Congress approves the President’s proposal, the individual income tax rates would be: 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 36, and 39.6 percent for 2013 and subsequent years. Alternatively, Congress could extend all of the Bush-era tax rates through 2013 or, in a deadlock, take no action and allow the Bush-era tax rates to sunset. Full sunset for lower and middle-income taxpayers—which would reinstate a 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent bracket structure—is highly unlikely from a political and economic standpoint.

Under President Obama’s proposal, the 36 and 39.6-percent rates would start at a higher-income bracket level of $200,000 for single filers, $250,000 for joint filers, $225,000 for head-of-households, and $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately. Since these thresholds were initially proposed in 2009, they would also be indexed for inflation. Also they would be keyed to adjusted gross income (AGI) rather than taxable income. Indexed 2013 projections for those AGI levels, based on the Administration’s FY 2013 Budget, are $213,200 / $266,500 / $239,850 / and $133,250, respectively.

For a married couple filing a joint return, the tax brackets under President Obama’s plan would be:

Tax Rate 2013 Taxable Income

10% $0-$17,850

15% $17,850-$72,500*

25% $72,500-$146,400

28% $146,400-$223,050

33% $223,050-$266,400

36% $266,400-$398,350

39.6% $398,350+

* Also assumes continuation of marriage penalty relief
For a single individual, the tax rates under President Obama’s plan would be:

Tax Rate 2013 Taxable Income

10% $0-$8,925

15% $8,925-$36,250

25% $36,250-$87,850

28% $87,850-$183,250

33% $183,250-$213,200

36% $213,200-$398,350

39.6% $398,350+

As part of the automatic sunset of Bush-era tax benefits, after 2012 higher-income taxpayers also would once again be subject to the Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) and the Pease Limitation on itemized deductions (named for the member of Congress who sponsored the legislation). Alternatively, President Obama has proposed replacement of the PEP and Pease Limitation with a limit on the value of itemized deductions for higher-income taxpayers. The President would limit the value of otherwise allowable deductions to 28 percent of AGI for those in his proposed 36 and 39.6 percent tax brackets.

During the campaign, the President said he saw no way to accommodate Governor Mitt Romney’s plan to reduce the individual income tax rates by 20 percent across the board in exchange for a reduction in the number of deductions and loopholes currently available. Obama maintained that he would not support a proposal in which “the numbers don’t add up.”

The IRS has delayed issuing some 2013 inflation adjustments, including those affecting tax rate brackets, pending action by Congress. The IRS is expected to move quickly to release these inflation adjusted amounts as soon as legislation is passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Capital Gains/Dividends
President Obama campaigned on allowing the Bush-era tax cuts—including the reduced capital gains and dividend tax rates—to expire for higher income individuals, and he is not expected to change his position now. Under the President’s proposal, the current zero and 15 percent capital gains and dividend tax rates would be extended after 2012 for single individuals with incomes below $200,000 and families with incomes below $250,000.

The President’s proposal would increase the tax rate on qualified capital gains to 20 percent for single individuals with incomes over $200,000 and married taxpayers filing a joint return with incomes over $250,000. Regarding dividends, single individuals with incomes over $200,000 and families with incomes over $250,000 would pay tax on their dividends as ordinary income.

For dividends, the increase in tax rate for higher-income taxpayers represents almost a 300 percent increase when a top 39.6 percent rate is combined with the new 3.8 percent Medicare contributions tax on net investment income (NII). Combined with a jump in the capital gains rate from 15 percent to 20 percent (23.8 percent with the NII tax), some economists are predicting a massive market sell-off at year end as taxpayers engage in basis-resetting strategies and reallocation of portfolio assets. To create a softer landing, one proposal would raise rates for taxpayers only with incomes above $1 million, at least for the 2013 period until a more permanent structure under the umbrella of tax reform could be enacted.

Under current law, taxpayers in the 10 and 15 percent income tax brackets pay zero percent tax on qualified capital gains and dividends.

Alternative Minimum Tax
If the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amounts are not patched for 2012, they would be dramatically less than the exemption amounts for 2011. Under current law, the AMT exemption amounts for 2012 are $33,750 for single individuals, $45,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, and $22,500 for married couples filing separate returns. In comparison, the AMT exemption amounts for 2011 were $48,450 for single individuals, $74,450 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, and $37,225 for married couples filing separate returns.

In early 2012, President Obama proposed replacing at least a portion of the AMT with the so-called “Buffett Rule,” essentially the principle that millionaire taxpayers should not pay a smaller effective rate of income tax than middle-class families. Although the Senate voted on a version of the Buffett Rule, the proposal was never taken up by the House.
In announcing the Buffett Rule, President Obama asked Congress to pass measures that ensure individuals making over $1 million a year pay a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent. The Senate approved the legislation that would subject taxpayers earning over $2 million to a 30 percent minimum federal tax rate. The tax would be phased in for individuals with incomes between $1 million and $2 million, with those taxpayers paying a portion of the extra tax required to get them to a 30 percent effective tax rate.

The need for an AMT patch retroactive to the start of 2012 may force the lame-duck Congress to consider at least a small tax bill before 2013 in order to give the IRS time to finalize 2012 tax forms and start the 2013 tax return season on time.

Proposals for replacing or repealing the AMT appear to be made as long-term solutions. The AMT brings in a considerable amount of revenue and cannot be easily replaced. A tax on millionaires may not bridge that revenue gap. A solution that is rolled up into the umbrella of overall tax reform appears to be one focal point for tax policy now being pursued.

Child Tax Credit
After 2012, the $1,000 child tax credit is scheduled to revert to $500 per qualifying child. President Obama campaigned on the promise to make permanent the $1,000 child tax credit and is expected to support legislation that will do so.

Taxpayers who cannot take full advantage of the child tax credit because the credit is more than the taxes they owe may receive a payment for some or all of the credit not used to offset their taxes. The 2010 Tax Relief Act reduced the minimum earned income amount used to calculate the additional child tax credit to $3,000. President Obama has proposed to make permanent the $3,000 threshold.

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Few provisions in the Tax Code have been as uncertain in their long-term fate
as the federal estate tax. In 2001, Congress set in motion a gradual reduction
of the federal estate tax rate and repealed it for estates of decedents dying
in calendar year 2010.

Under the 2010 Tax Relief Act, federal estate taxes again applied to estates of
decedents dying after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2013 (although
estates of decedents dying in calendar year 2010 could opt out of the federal
estate tax and apply a modified carryover basis regime). President Obama has
proposed extending the federal estate and gift tax under parameters in effect
for calendar year 2009 for estates of decedents dying after December 31, 2012.
That level would set the estate tax exclusion at $3.5 million with a 45 percent
rate and the gift tax lifetime exclusion of $1 million.


Absent Congressional action, the maximum estate tax rate is scheduled to be 55 percent
for estates of decedents dying after 2012 with a $1 million combined estate and
gift tax exclusion amount. Opponents of the estate tax continue to maintain
that it hurts family-owned businesses to the detriment of the economy.


For 2012, a unified estate and gift tax exclusion stands at $5.120 million,
with a 35 percent rate imposed on the excess. The exclusion effectively becomes
$10.24 million for married couples. Depending upon a wealthy individual’s
estate plan and the type of assets held, some practitioners recommend making
large gifts before 2013 to take advantage of the $5.12 million/$10.24 million
amounts that may be transferred gift-tax free before 2013. The re-election of
President Obama makes the repeal of the estate tax or a higher exclusion


President Obama has also proposed to extend the generation skipping transfer
(GST) taxes at parameters in effect for calendar year 2009.


The 2010 Tax Relief Act also provided for portability, which increases the
surviving spouse’s lifetime exclusion for estate and gift taxes by the portion
of the deceased spouse’s exclusion that is unused at the deceased spouse’s
death. Portability is scheduled to sunset after 2012. President Obama has
proposed to extend portability. (Salt Lake City ESTATE AND GIFT TAX)




On the campaign trail, President Obama called for a reduction in the corporate
tax rate. Such a reduction has broad bipartisan support, although there remains
disagreement over the proper tax rate and the specific revenue offsets that
would be used to broaden the tax base. However, because there is consensus that
a reduction in corporate income tax rates would be good for business and good
for the country, Congress is expected to enact corporate tax reform, although
it may take until late 2013 or 2014 to do so.

Corporate Tax Rate

President Obama has said that any cut in the corporate tax rate must be revenue
neutral. That means certain business tax preferences are likely to be
eliminated in exchange for the reduction. President Obama has repeatedly urged
elimination of tax preferences for oil and gas producers, which could be used
to partly offset the cost of a corporate tax cut.


In early 2012, President Obama unveiled a Framework for Business Tax Reform in
which he proposed reducing the maximum corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28
percent, with a reduced effective rate of 25 percent for qualified


Any discussions for a grand bargain could include moving the U.S. from a
worldwide system of taxation to a territorial system of taxation, but this is
unlikely to be a priority. On the other hand, proposals made by the President
in early 2012 to reward employers that move operations from overseas plants to
the U.S.
with a tax credit could be revived. President Obama also proposed to give
employers that increase payrolls a tax credit. This proposal also could be
revived in year-end negotiations.

Small Business Expensing

Enhanced Code Sec. 179 expensing is scheduled to expire after 2012. Unless
extended, the current expensing amount of $139,000 (as indexed for inflation)
is scheduled to fall to $25,000 and the current $560,000 investment limit (as
indexed for inflation) is scheduled to fall to $125,000.


Some compromise over extending expensing at a higher level into 2013 appears
possible. Earlier this year, the Senate approved legislation to provide for a
Code Sec. 179 maximum dollar amount of $250,000 and an $800,000 investment
limitation for tax years beginning after December 31, 2012. The House approved
legislation to extend the Code Sec. 179 small business expensing parameters
originally put in place in 2003 ($100,000 and $400,000, respectively) through
2013. These amounts would be indexed for inflation for 2013, which the House
GOP estimated at $127,000 and $510,000, respectively. Disincentives to passing
an expensing extension include its cost and what offsets may be used.

Bonus Depreciation

Bonus depreciation at its current 50 percent rate is scheduled to expire after
2012 (after 2013 for certain transportation property and longer-lived
property). It is unclear if President Obama will support an extension of 50
percent bonus depreciation. (Salt Lake City BUSINESSES TAX)




During his campaign, President Obama noted that it would be impossible for the
government to reduce its deficit without bringing in additional revenue and
that additional taxes are necessary:

“We’ve identified tax rates going up to the Clinton [pre-2001] rates for
income above $250,000; making some adjustments in terms of the corporate tax
side that could actually bring down the corporate tax overall, but broaden the
base and close some loopholes. That would be good for our economy, and it would
be good for reducing our deficit.” That is why you might need tax help Salt Lake City

Individual Extenders

The individual tax extenders can be divided into two categories: Extenders that
are good candidates for renewal and extenders that are on the fence. This
assessment is based upon both the support, or lack thereof, that the Obama
Administration has given to each and how receptive members of the Congressional
tax writing committees have been to each.

Likely to be renewed

Individual extenders with a strong likelihood of renewal are:

• ▪ Higher education tuition deduction

• ▪ State and local sales tax deduction

• ▪ Teachers’ classroom expense deduction

• ▪ Qualified charitable distributions from IRAs


No one can predict what Congress will ultimately do but the higher education
tuition deduction, the state and local sales tax deduction, the teachers’
classroom expense deduction, and charitable distributions from IRAs appear to
enjoy strong support for extension. These incentives could be extended for one
year (through 2012) or for two years (through 2013).


In September, a bipartisan group of about 60 House members from states without
an income tax called for extension of the state and local sales tax deduction.

Selected individual extenders on the fence include:

• ▪ Deduction for qualified mortgage insurance premiums

• ▪ Code Sec. 25C residential energy property credit


The Code Sec. 25D residential energy efficient property credit is available for
qualified property placed in service before January 1, 2017. Qualified property
includes certain geothermal energy property and small wind energy property.

Business Extenders

Like the individual extenders, the business extenders can be divided into two
groups: good candidates for renewal and extenders on the fence.

Likely to be renewed – Tax Help Salt Lake City

Business extenders likely to be renewed include:

• ▪ Code Sec. 41 research tax credit

• ▪ Code Sec. 179 small business expensing

• ▪ Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

• ▪ 15-year recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, restaurant property
and retail improvements

• ▪ New Markets Tax Credit


The research tax credit, which expired after 2011, enjoys strong bipartisan
support in Congress, with many lawmakers and the White House calling for a
permanent credit. The research tax credit is likely to be extended for one year
(through 2012) or two years (through 2013).


Under current law, employers can take advantage of an enhanced WOTC for hiring
qualified military veterans. The enhanced WOTC for veterans is scheduled to
expire after 2012 but is a good candidate for renewal. However, it is unclear
at this time if the WOTC for other target groups, which expired after 2011,
will be extended.

Selected business extenders on the fence include:

• ▪ Production tax credit for wind energy projects

• ▪ Employer credit for activated military reservists

• ▪ Seven-year recovery period for motorsports complexes

• ▪ Railroad track maintenance credit

• ▪ Brownfields remediation

• ▪ Credit for energy efficient homes


During the campaign, President Obama called for extension of the production tax
credit for wind energy projects, which is scheduled to expire af ter 2012 (and
after subsequent years for other projects). However, extension of the
production tax credit faces significant hurdles in the GOP-controlled House.


Brownfields remediation expensing and the credit for energy efficient homes
were two incentives not included in the SFC’s Middle Class Tax Cut Relief Act
of 2012.

Areas of Service: Tax Help Salt Lake City




Linked to the Bush-era tax cuts are a package of so-called tax extenders. These
are popular but temporary tax incentives. Many of the tax extenders were
effective only through 2011 but may be retroactively extended for the entire
2012 tax year by the lame-duck Congress. Others were extended through 2012.


Before his re-election President Obama called for extension of the higher
education tuition deduction, AMT relief (the AMT “patch”), the
enhanced Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for veterans, and the production
tax credit for wind energy projects, among other extenders. Now that he has
been re-elected, there is nothing to indicate that the President will withdraw
his support for extending these provisions. The question is: will lawmakers go
along with the President’s proposals and when will they act?


Democrats and Republicans generally agree that the longer they wait to extend
some or all of the extenders, the greater the likelihood of a delayed 2013
filing season. The IRS is preparing to process 2012 returns under the tax law
as it now reads. The IRS will need time to adjust its processing systems for
late legislation.


In past years, the tax extenders were routinely approved by Congress, either at
year-end or early in the subsequent year and made retroactive. This year may be
different. Some lawmakers have balked at the estimated $200 billion cost over
10 years of extending all of these tax benefits. However, it is unclear which
extenders, if any, would be allowed to expire. In August, the Senate Finance
Committee (SFC) approved the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2012, which did not
renew some of the tax extenders (such as brownfields remediation expensing and
the first-time homebuyer credit for the District of Columbia); but these
extenders could be added back before the passage of a final bill.


The tax extenders may also be held up by legislation unrelated to taxes. Some
lawmakers are upset that Congress recessed before the November elections
without passing a farm bill and drought disaster relief. They have promised not
to move on the extenders or other legislation until Congress acts on a farm



President Obama emphasized during his campaign the need to continue improving
education across the nation. The thrust of the Obama Administration’s tax
incentives for education during his first term has focused on higher education
and job retraining programs. The President, however, also does not want
Congress to curtail certain funding of public education, a spendingside issue
that may be considered in negotiating the extension of current tax breaks. In
addition to supporting renewal of the above-the-line higher education tuition
deduction, the following education tax breaks are currently also up for

American Opportunity Tax Credit

President Obama campaigned on making permanent the temporary American
Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The AOTC, which is an enhanced version of the
HOPE education credit, is scheduled to expire after 2012.


The AOTC applies to 100 percent of the first $2,000 of qualified tuition and
related expenses and 25 percent of the next $2,000, for a total maximum credit
of $2,500 per eligible student. Additionally, the AOTC applies to the first
four years of a student’s post-secondary education. The AOTC also allows for
partial refundability for qualified taxpayers.


If the AOTC expires, it will be replaced by the traditional HOPE education tax

Coverdell ESAs

After 2012, the $2,000 annual contribution amount for Coverdell education
savings accounts (Coverdell ESAs) is scheduled to revert to $500. At the same
time, the expanded definition of qualified education expenses for elementary
and secondary school would also expire.

Student loan interest deduction

Under current law, certain enhancements to the student loan interest deduction
are scheduled to expire after 2012. If not extended, the incentive would only
be available for the first 60 months after repayment begins and would phase-out
for taxpayers with adjusted gross income between $40,000 and $55,000 ($60,000
and $75,000 for married couples filing joint returns).


Salt Lake City CPA Health Care


President Obama’s second term is expected to see the continuing implementation
of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act). Many
tax-related provisions in the Affordable Care Act are scheduled to take effect
in 2013 and beyond, including:

• ▪ 3.8 percent Medicare contribution tax (2013)

• ▪ 0.9 percent additional Medicare tax (2013)

• ▪ $2,500 contribution limit on health flexible spending accounts (2013)

• ▪ Increased threshold for itemized medical expenses (2013)

• ▪ New tax on medical devices (2013)

• ▪ State health insurance exchanges (2014)

• ▪ Individual shared responsibility payments (the individual mandate) (2014)

• ▪ Employer shared responsibility payments (2014)

• ▪ Premium assistance tax credit (2014)

• ▪ No annual dollar limits on health insurance coverage (2014)

• ▪ Increase in small employer health insurance tax credit (2014)

• ▪ New tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans (2018)


In 2012, the GOP-controlled House attempted to repeal all or parts of the
Affordable Care Act, but the bills died in the Democraticcontrolled Senate. It
is unclear if this pattern will be repeated in 2013. The House GOP has strongly
signaled its opposition to the IRS’s proposed regulations on the Code Sec. 36B
premium assistance tax credit and is likely to continue to oppose them. The
GOPcontrolled House may also try to reduce funding to the IRS and other federal
agencies responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act.


The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance
mandate in NFIB v. Sebelius, 2012-2 ustc ¶50,573. However, opponents argue that
the employer’s shared responsibility payment was not addressed by the Court in
NFIB v. Sebelius. Some taxpayers have also challenged the Affordable Care Act’s
contraceptive provisions.

Medicare Contribution Tax

The Affordable Care Act imposes a 3.8 percent Medicare contribution tax on the
unearned income of higher-income individuals, estates and trusts effective
January 1, 2013. The Medicare contribution tax applies to net investment income
(NII), and will generally apply to passive income. The Medicare contribution
tax also applies to capital gains from the disposition of property. For
individuals, the Medicare contribution tax will apply to the lesser of the
taxpayer’s NII or the amount of “modified” adjusted gross income (AGI
with foreign income added back) above a specified threshold.


The modified AGI thresholds for individuals are $250,000 for married taxpayers
filing jointly and surviving spouses; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing
separately; and $200,000 for single taxpayers and heads of household. These
threshold amounts are not indexed for inflation.


The Medicare contribution tax is not applicable to income derived from a trade
or business, or from the sale of property used in a trade or business.

NII for purposes of the Medicare contribution tax includes gross income from
interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents, provided this income is
not derived in the ordinary course of an active trade or business; gross income
from a trade or business that is a passive activity (within the meaning of Code
Sec. 469); gross income from a trade or business of trading in financial
instruments or commodities; and net gain (taken into account in computing
taxable income) from the disposition of property that is not held in an active
trade or business.


The IRS is expected to issue guidance about the 3.8 percent Medicare
contribution tax before year-end.


Higher-income taxpayers also are faced with a top rate on ordinary income of
39.6 percent and a 20 percent capital gains rate if the President follows
through on his campaign promise to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for
these higher-income taxpayers. That creates an effective top rate of 43.4
percent on all NII-taxed income, except capital gains, which will be taxed at a
23.8 percent effective top rate.

Additional Medicare Tax

The Affordable Care Act also imposes an additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on
higher-income individuals, effective January 1, 2013. The additional Medicare
tax applies to total wages, other compensation, and self-employment income that
exceeds the applicable threshold amount for the individual’s filing status.


The threshold amounts are (not adjusted for inflation): $200,000 for
individuals; $250,000 for married couples filing a joint return; and $125,000
for married couples filing separate returns.

Itemized Deduction for Medical Expenses

For tax years beginning after December 31, 2012, the Affordable Care Act
increases the 7.5 percent threshold for itemizing medical expenses to 10
percent. However, the Affordable Care Act temporarily exempts individuals age
65 and older from the 10 percent threshold.


Taxpayers (or their spouses) who are age 65 or older before the close of the
tax year may continue to apply the 7.5 percent threshold for tax years ending
before 2017.


For AMT purposes the itemized deduction threshold for medical expenses remains
unchanged at 10 percent.

Health Flexible Spending Arrangements

After 2012, the Affordable Care Act caps the maximum salary reduction
contribution to a health flexible spending arrangement (health FSA) at $2,500.
Salary reductions in excess of $2,500 will subject the employee to tax on
distributions from the health FSA. The $2,500 limit will be indexed for
inflation for tax years beginning after December 31, 2013.


Effective January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act prohibited health FSA
dollars from being used to reimburse the cost of over-the-counter medicines
(except insulin).

Medical Devices

The Affordable Care Act imposes a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of
qualified medical devices by manufacturers, producers and importers after
December 31, 2012.


The excise tax does not apply to many medical devices that are commonly
purchased by consumers such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and
other devices generally sold to the public at retail for individual use.

(Salt Lake City CPA Health Care)