June 18, 2013
Generally, taxpayers are allowed to deduct personal exemptions of $3,900 for themselves, their spouses and their dependents. In addition, taxpayers are allowed a standard deduction or, if their deductions are large, they can itemize their deductions.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 included a provision to phase out, beginning in 2013, both the personal exemptions and itemized deductions for higher income taxpayers. The phase-out will begin when a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI) reaches a phase-out threshold amount.
The threshold amounts are based on the taxpayers’ filing statuses and are: $250,000 for single filers, $275,000 for individuals filing as heads of households, $300,000 for married couples filing jointly and $150,000 for married individuals filing separately. Here is how the phase-out will work:
Example: Ralph and Louise have an AGI of $412,500 for 2013 and two children for a total of four exemptions totaling $15,600 (4 × $3,900). The threshold for a married couple is $300,000; thus, their income exceeds the threshold by $112,500. Dividing $112,500 by $2,500 equals 45. So 90% (45 × 2%) of their $15,600 exemption allowance is phased out, leaving them with a reduced exemption deduction of $1,560 ((100–90) × $15,600). Assuming Ralph and Louise are in the 33% federal tax bracket, the phase-out costs them an additional $4,633 ($15,600 × 90% × 33%).
Divorced or separated parents subject to the phase-out should consider relinquishing the exemption of a dependent child to the other parent. Where a taxpayer is a party to a multiple support agreement, the taxpayer may want to allow another contributing member of the agreement who is not hit by the phase-out to claim the dependent’s exemption.
Not all itemized deductions are subject to phase-out. The following deductions are not subject to the phase-out:
Thus, a taxpayer who is subject to the full phase-out still gets to deduct 20% of the deductions subject to the phase-out and 100% of the deductions listed above.
Example: Ralph and Louise from the previous example, who had an AGI of $412,500 for 2013, exceed the threshold for a married couple by $112,500. Thus, they must reduce their itemized deductions subject to the phase-out by $3,375 (3% of $112,500), but the reduction must not exceed 80% of the deductions subject to the phase-out. For 2013, Ralph and Louise had the following itemized deductions:
Subject to Phase-out Not Subject to Phase-out
Home mortgage interest: $10,000
Charitable contributions: $6,000
Casualty loss: $12,000
Total: $24,000 $12,000
The phase-out is the lesser of $3,375 or 80% of $24,000. Thus Ralph and Louise’s itemized deductions for 2013 will be $32,625 ($24,000 - $3,375 + $12,000). Assuming Ralph and Louise are in the 33% federal tax bracket, the phase-out will cost them an additional $1,114 ($3,375 × 33%).
Conventional thinking is to maximize deductions. However, where taxpayers normally are not subject to a phase-out and have a high-income year because of unusual income, it may be appropriate, where possible, to defer paying deductible expenses to the year following the high-income year or perhaps pay and deduct the expenses in the preceding year.
If you have questions about how these phase-outs will impact your specific situation, you want to adjust your withholding or estimated taxes, or you want to make a tax planning appointment, please give this office a call.
Our most precious commodity is time—and our attention is a close second. That’s why everyone can use some help on how to tune out daily distractions. We compiled the following helpful tips from copyblogger.com to get you started on dialing down distractions:
The April 15 filing deadline is rapidly approaching, so we encourage you to send us your tax documentation as soon as possible to expedite the filing process. Here are four important reasons why you should file your return sooner rather than later:
This tax season is an important one for many business owners because it’s the first that will be impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). How big of an impact is dependent on your unique situation. We’ve compiled this short list of provisions that may affect the business community: