You probably are aware that a portion of your Social Security retirement benefit may be taxable. Do you know how the tax is calculated? Or how the taxable portion of your benefit is determined? The Rules There are a couple of different levels of income that determine how much of your Social Security Benefit is taxed. But first we must define Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). This is your Adjusted Gross Income (line 37 of Form 1040) plus all of your tax-exempt income. Next is to define Provisional Income (PI). This is your MAGI plus 50% of your Social Security benefits. Now to the taxation levels: The first taxation level is $32,000 of Provisional Income for a married couple filing jointly (MFJ) or $25,000 for single, head of household and qualifying widow(er) filing statuses. If your Provisional Income is less than this first level for your filing status, none of your […]
As the end of the year approaches many employers will pay and many employees will receive year-end bonuses. While often the icing on the cake for a productive year employee should be aware of the tax consequences of their bonus. Percent vs. Aggregate Method When it comes to taxing the bonus an employer may choose the percentage method versus the aggregate method. Under the aggregate or wage holding bracket method the employer will use the withholding tables generally used for the employee normal paycheck. Then, the supplemental wages are aggregated with the employee’s normal pay and taxes are withheld accordingly.
On only a few rare occasions does it make sense to defer money to your 401(k) or other employer sponsored plan instead of a Roth IRA. Those occasions include when your gross income excludes you from contributing directly to a Roth IRA (you can still convert), you are currently at a very high tax rate or the case of when you live in a state where retirement income is excluded from state taxation. Here in Illinois, the current law exempts retirement income from being taxed at the state level. What this means, is that any contributions to a 401(k), 403(b), SEP, SIMPLE and 457 avoid state income taxation. Qualified distributions at retirement are only taxed at the federal level, and then only as income. If you contribute directly to a Roth IRA that money is after-tax money going in. After-tax in this case meaning it’s been already taxed at the […]
It may be tough to figure out which parts of your income you’ve received over the year are taxable, and what parts are not taxable. This is because certain kinds of income may seem like they should not be taxed (but they are), while other items of income seem like they should be taxed (but they’re not). The IRS has published a Tax Tip to help understand which income is taxable and which is not. The complete text of IRS Tax Tip 2013-12 is detailed below. Taxable and Nontaxable Income Most types of income are taxable, but some are not. Income can include money, property or services that you receive. Here are some examples of income that are usually not taxable: Child support payments; Gifts, bequests and inheritances; Welfare benefits; Damage awards for physical injury or sickness; Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy; and […]
Image via Wikipedia Have you ever wondered if it was actually necessary to file a tax return? Perhaps your income is relatively low, and so you wonder if it’s really required of you to file a return. Often it’s not entirely a case of a return being required, but rather it might be in your best interest to file a return in order to receive certain credits against your income. Recently the IRS issued their TAX TIP 2012-02 which goes over some of the things you need to be aware of when considering if it’s necessary or in your best interest to file a return. Portions of this TIP are listed below, with additional information added. Do I Need to File a Tax Return This Year? You are required to file a federal income tax return if your income is above a certain level, which varies depending on your filing […]
Seems like a no-brainer – why would anyone want to “invent” income? That just means you’ll have to pay tax, right? Not always, especially if the income is for a minor and is only a relatively small amount – say, enough to qualify for the maximum Roth IRA contribution, for example. This is a follow-up to the article Open a Roth IRA for Your Child, where we talked about how beneficial it can be to set up one of these accounts for your child. One of the points we talked about in that article was how the account can only be funded with of the lesser of $5,000 (for 2010 and 2011) or total taxable compensation. It’s very important to know what exactly can be considered “taxable compensation” for this purpose. Taxable Compensation Of course, any wages reported in Box 1 of a W-2 form from the employer is considered […]