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Tax Saving Strategies for the 2012 Filing Season Updated Dec.12, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Tax Saving Strategies for the 2012 Filing Season Updated Dec.12, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tax Saving Strategies for the 2012 Filing Season Updated Dec.12, 2011

2 Select 2011 Tax Law Changes tax changes less drastic than 2010 One wide-ranging change – replacement of Making Work Pay Credit

3 Expiring Provisions Increased Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Exemption Amounts State/Local Sales Tax Deduction Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction School Teacher Expenses Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs 3

4 The Basics Standard Deduction Standard Deduction Additions Itemizing Deductions Charitable Deductions Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) AMT Exemption Amounts 4

5 Standard Deduction Filing StatusStandard Deduction Single$5,800 Married Filing Separately$5,800 Married Filing Jointly$11,600 Qualifying Widow(er)$11,600 Head of Household$8,500 5

6 Standard Deduction Additions Additional standard deduction for taxpayers age 65 and older or blind: -$1,450 (single or head of household) -$1,150 (married filing jointly, married filing separately or qualifying widow/er) 6

7 Itemizing Deductions Alternative to standard deduction Use when total itemized deductions exceed standard deduction Wide range of itemized deductions No phaseout rules Bunching tax breaks AMT consideration Benefits of advance planning 7

8 Charitable Deductions Qualified donations only Deductible up to 50% of AGI (for itemizers) Documentation requirements Donations of more than $75 and $250 or more (additional substantiation rules) Donations of appreciated property Clothing, household items and automobiles (requirements and substantiation rules) 8

9 Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Additional tax for certain taxpayers AMT triggers: -Higher-than-average dependency exemptions -Large deductions for state and local income taxes -High real estate taxes -Miscellaneous itemized deductions and medical expenses 9

10 AMT Exemption Amounts Exemption amounts: -Single $48,450 -Married/Filing jointly $74,450 Phaseout when AMT income exceeds: -$112,500 (single) -$150,000 (married filing jointly) 10

11 Tax Strategies & Incentives Family Education Job Home Investments Retirement 11

12 Family Tax Incentives Kiddie Tax Child Tax Credit Adoption Credit Health Savings Accounts Health Flexible Spending Arrangements Dependent Care Tax Credit Long-term Care Premium Shifting Income 12

13 Kiddie Tax Income shifting to children less beneficial $1,900 investment income threshold Exception if parents deceased Applies to: -All children younger than age 18 -Most children who are age 18 -Most full-time students between ages Child who is married filing separately 13

14 Child Tax Credit $1,000 credit per qualifying child Child: -Under age 17 -Qualified dependent -U.S. citizen, resident or national 14

15 Adoption Credit Up to $13,360 per eligible child Employer reimbursement of up to $13,360 Different rules for U.S. and foreign adoptions Special-needs child – full credit regardless of actual expenses 15

16 Health Savings Accounts Individuals covered Tax advantages – contributions, earnings and withdrawals Consequences of non-qualified withdrawals 16

17 Health Flexible Spending Arrangements Tax-free contributions from wages Fully accessible for qualified medical expenses Wide range of reimbursable medical expenses (non-prescription drugs, except insulin, not reimbursable in 2011) Terms and limits determined by company plan Use or lose feature 17

18 Dependent Care Tax Credit Child must be under age 13 and a dependent 20% to 35% of qualifying expenses (up to $2,100) AGI factor Earned income requirement and joint return if married Up to $3,000 of expenses ($6,000 if two or more dependents) Reduced by certain employer-provided day care ($5,000/$2,500 limits) Applicable to other dependents 18

19 Long-term Care Premium Tax deduction for portion of insurance costs Age-based deduction amounts: -Age 40 or under - $340 -Age 41 to 50 - $640 -Age 51 to 60 - $1,270 -Age 61 to 70 - $3,390 -Age 71 or over - $4,240 19

20 Shifting Income Kiddie tax Gift tax: -Up to $13,000 not subject to gift tax ($26,000 if election by spouse/use other spouses exclusion) -Cash gifts and present interests in property requirement Family business (hiring your minor children): -Legitimate work, adherence to rules/laws and reasonable wages -Social Security and Medicare tax advantages if under age18 -Kiddie Tax not applicable 20

21 Education Strategies Tax Credits American Opportunity Tax Credit Lifetime Learning Credit Student Loan Deduction Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction Qualified Tuition Programs (529 Plans) Prepaid Tuition Plans U.S. Savings Bonds 21

22 Tax Credits American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit Credit vs. deduction Mutually exclusive credits in certain circumstances 22

23 American Opportunity Tax Credit Applies to first four years of college/postsecondary school Recognized educational credential requirement $2,500 per student per year maximum Qualified tuition and related expenses Allowed against AMT 23 *MAGI

24 Lifetime Learning Credit Worth up to $2,000 per year Not limited to any number of years Applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional-degree expenses Available to each taxpayer – not each student No educational-credential requirement 24 *Pertains to MAGI

25 Student Loan Deduction Deduct loan interest up to $2,500 No limit on repayment period No need to itemize Qualification requirements Phaseout ranges apply 25

26 Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction Up to $2,000 or $4,000 deduction Available every qualifying year Covered expenses similar to American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit Broad availability Barred in certain circumstances Phaseout ranges apply 26 *MAGI

27 Qualified Tuition Programs (529 Plans) Tax-advantaged way to save for college expenses Money in plan grows tax free Tax-free qualified withdrawals State income tax breaks in certain circumstances Wide range of qualified expenses (no dollar limit) Gifts from family members 27

28 Prepaid Tuition Plans State-instituted plans Plan inception date and childs age key factors to amount contributed Tuition costs covered not room, board or books In-state vs. out-of-state school Tax treatment similar to 529 Plan 28

29 U.S. Savings Bonds Tax benefits for qualified higher-education expenses No dollar limit on exclusion Series EE bonds (issued after 1989) and Series I bonds 29

30 Job Strategies Unreimbursed employment-related costs Deduction – greater than 2% of AGI Job search expenses Line-of-work requirement Possible disallowance if long-term unemployment period Not applicable to first job 30

31 Homeowner Strategies Deductions Selling Your Home First-time Homebuyer Credit Home Energy Incentives 31

32 Deductions Mortgage interest: -Deduct up to $1 million of home-acquisition loans -Deduct up to $100,000 of home-equity loans -No restrictions on use of proceeds -Special rules on deducting points Real estate taxes: -No limits on number of homes or dollar amount -Prepay/delay decision 32

33 Selling Your Home Exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 if married filing jointly or surviving spouse in certain cases) Home owned/used as principal residence at least two (aggregate) of five years preceding sale Temporary absences from residence Special rules for specific homeowners Repay/recapture First-time Homebuyer Credit 33

34 First-time Homebuyer Credit Limited credit for 2011 home purchases Credit repayment for some home purchasers 34

35 Home Energy Incentives Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit -10% and 100% credits for certain improvements and expenditures -Dollar limits for specific types of property -$500 maximum lifetime credit -Wide range of improvements Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit -Wide range of costs -Two types of 30% credits -Dollar limit, principal residence and kilowatt-capacity considerations 35

36 Investment Strategies Dividends Capital Gains Tax Offset Capital Gains with Losses 36

37 Dividends Top tax rate of 15% for qualified dividends 0% for taxpayers in 10% or 15% tax bracket 37

38 Capital Gains Tax 15% maximum tax rate on net capital gains 0% for taxpayers in 10% or 15% income tax bracket Asset must be held more than one year before sale 38

39 Offset Capital Gains with Losses Capital losses netted against capital gains $3,000 in capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income Ability to carry losses forward Keep track of losses – unused, and short and long term Beware of wash sale rule 39

40 Retirement Strategies Employer Sponsored Plans Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) Conversion to Roth IRA 40

41 Employer Sponsored Plans Pre-tax contributions help reduce tax bill Employer matches and earned income – tax deferred $16,500 maximum contribution (younger than age 50) $5,500 additional catch-up contribution (age 50 or older) 41

42 Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) Two types: Traditional and Roth $5,000 maximum annual contribution for either $1,000 additional catch-up contribution (age 50 or older) Contribution restrictions Traditional IRA: deductible contributions – modified AGI and employer-sponsored plan considerations & distribution requirements Roth IRA: nondeductible contributions and tax-free withdrawals Tax-free earnings until distribution Open/contribution deadline: April 17,

43 Conversion to Roth IRA No dollar limit on conversion amount Conversion results in taxable income No early-distribution penalty under certain conditions No modified AGI requirement Opportunity to reverse conversion 43

44 Key Takeaways Partner with your CPA Ask questions when considering advice Plan for tax savings year-round 44

45 Copyright © 2011 American Institute of CPAs Thank you


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