Tap Your Retirement Money Early & Minimize Penalties

Tap Your Retirement Money Early & Minimize Penalties-www.abataxaccounting.com  

Year- End Tax Planning – The purpose of retirement plans such as the 401(k) and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is to save money for your retirement years. As such, the IRS imposes a penalty of 10% for early withdrawals taken from qualified retirement plans before age 59 1/2. Qualified retirement plans include section 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and 401(k) plan, tax-sheltered annuity plans under section 403(b) for employees of public schools or tax-exempt organizations.

 

While you should always think carefully about taking money out of your retirement plan before you’ve reached retirement age, there may be times when you need access to those funds, whether it’s buying a new house or pay for out of pocket medical expenses. Fortunately, IRS provisions allow a number of exceptions that may be used to avoid the tax penalty.

  1. If you are the beneficiary of a deceased IRA owner, you do not have to pay the 10% penalty on distributions taken before age 59 1/2 unless you inherit a traditional IRA from your deceased spouse and elect to treat it as your own. In this case, any distribution you later receive before you reach age 59 1/2 may be subject to the 10% additional tax.
  2. Distributions made because you are totally and permanently disabled are exempt from the early withdrawal penalty. You are considered disabled if you can furnish proof that you cannot do any substantial gainful activity because of your physical or mental condition. A physician must determine that your condition can be expected to result in death or to be of long, continued, and indefinite duration.
  3. Distributions for qualified higher educational expenses are also exempt, provided they are not paid through tax-free distributions from a Coverdell education savings account, scholarships and fellowships, Pell grants, employer-provided educational assistance, and Veterans’ educational assistance. Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of a student at an eligible educational institution, as well as expenses incurred by special needs students in connection with their enrollment or attendance. If the individual is at least a half-time student, then room and board are considered qualified higher education expenses. This exception applies to expenses incurred by you, your spouse, children and grandchildren.
  4. Distributions due to an IRS levy of the qualified plan.
  5. Distributions that are not more than the cost of your medical insurance. Even if you are under age 59 1/2, you may not have to pay the 10% additional tax on distributions during the year that are not more than the amount you paid during the year for medical insurance for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. You will not have to pay the tax on these amounts if all of the following conditions apply: you lost your job, you received unemployment compensation paid under any federal or state law for 12 consecutive weeks because you lost your job, you receive the distributions during either the year you received the unemployment compensation or the following year, you receive the distributions no later than 60 days after you have been reemployed.
  6. Distributions to qualified reservists. Generally, these are distributions made to individuals called to active duty after September 11, 2001 and on or after December 31, 2007.
  7. Distributions in the form of an annuity. You can take the money as part of a series of substantially equal periodic payments over your estimated lifespan or the joint lives of you and your designated beneficiary. These payments must be made at least annually and payments are based on IRS life expectancy tables. If payments are from a qualified employee plan, they must begin after you have left the job. The payments must be made at least once each year until age 59 1/2, or for five years, whichever period is longer.
  8. If you have out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed 7.5% (10% in 2013) of your adjusted gross income, you can withdraw funds from a retirement account to pay those expenses without paying a penalty. For example, if you had an adjusted gross income of $100,000 for tax year 2012 and medical expenses of $12,500, you could withdraw as much as $5,000 ($2,500 in 2013) from your pension or IRA without incurring the 10% penalty tax. You do not have to itemize your deductions to take advantage of this exception.
  9. An IRA distribution used to buy, build, or rebuild a first home also escapes the penalty; however, you need to understand the government’s definition of a “first time” home buyer. In this case, it’s defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home for the last two years prior to the date of the new acquisition. You could have owned five prior houses, but if you haven’t owned one in at least two years, you qualify.
  10. The first time homeowner can be yourself, your spouse, your or your spouse’s child or grandchild, parent or other ancestor. The “date of acquisition” is the day you sign the contract for purchase of an existing house or the day construction of your new principal residence begins. The amount withdrawn for the purchase of a home must be used within 120 days of withdrawal and the maximum lifetime withdrawal exemption is $10,000. If both you and your spouse are first-time home buyers, each of you can receive distributions up to $10,000 for a first home without having to pay the 10% penalty.

Remember that although using the above techniques will help you avoid the 10% penalty tax, you are still liable for any regular income tax that’s owed on the funds that you’ve withdrawn. Distributions rolled over into another qualified retirement plan or distributions from a Roth IRA however, escape both the regular income tax and the 10% penalty tax. Rollovers should be made directly between your brokers, to avoid paying the 20% withholding required on distributions that you touch. Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!

ABA Tax Accounting

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Published in: on November 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Year-End Tax Planning For Individuals – Accelerating Income

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Year-End Tax Planning For Individuals – Accelerating Income

Federal, State, Local and International Taxes -Tax planning is always a good idea, but with the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire and tax rates set to rise to pre-2010 levels, it’s more important than ever. With that in mind, accelerating income is one tax planning strategies you can use this year to help you cut your tax bill in 2013. 

ACCELERATING INCOME

In most years, taxpayers adopt a strategy of deferring income, but with the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire on December 31, 2012, income tax rates and capital gains taxes set to rise, and a 0.9 percent Hospital Insurance (HI) tax applicable to earnings of self-employed individuals or employee wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 if filing jointly) effective January 1, 2013, it might make more sense to accelerate income into 2012 instead of deferring it to 2013. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Sell any investments on which you have a gain this year and take advantage of the zero percent long-term capital gains tax rate if you’re in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, or a 15% tax rate for higher tax brackets.
  • If you are expecting a bonus at year-end, try to get it before December 31. However, keep in mind that contractual bonuses are different, in that they are typically not paid out until the first quarter of the following year. Therefore, any taxes owed on a contractual bonus would not be due until you file a tax return for tax year 2013.
  • If your company grants stock options, you may want to exercise the option or sell stock acquired by exercise of an option this year if you think your tax bracket will be higher in 2013. Exercise of the option is often but not always a taxable event; sale of the stock is almost always a taxable event.
  • If you’re self employed, send invoices or bills to clients or customers this year in order to be paid in full by the end of December.
  •              Caution: Keep an eye on the estimated tax requirements.

CALL US FIRST – This is just one of the year-end planning tax moves that could make a substantial difference in your tax bill for 2012. But the best advice we can give you is to give us a call. We’ll sit down with you, discuss your specific tax and financial needs, and develop a plan that works for your business.

ABA Tax Accounting

Amare Berhie, Senior Tax Accountant

amare@abataxaccounting.com

612-282-3200

866-936-0430 Toll Free

http://www.abataxaccounting.com

www.abataxaccounting.wordpress.com

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tax Strategy: Income Acceleration Techniques

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Income acceleration techniques for 2012 year-end planning  – The acceleration of income for tax purposes has not traditionally been a top-shelf strategy because of the simple fact that the delay of taxable income means the postponement of tax into a subsequent year, which is usually a good thing based upon time-value-of-money principles. The same reasoning applies to postponing deductions. Read the Full Story at Accounting Today (10/01).Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!

ABA Tax Accounting

Amare Berhie, Senior Tax Accountant

amare@abataxaccounting.com

612-282-3200

866-936-0430 Toll Free

http://www.abataxaccounting.com

www.abatax81.blogspot.com

www.abataxaccounting.wordpress.com

 

Published in: on October 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tax-filing and Payment Extensions Expire Oct. 15

Federal, State, Local and International TaxesIR-2012-73 The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers whose tax-filing extension runs out on Oct. 15 to double check their returns for often-overlooked tax benefits and then file their returns electronically using IRS e-file system.

Many of the more than 11 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension this year have yet to file. Though Oct. 15 is the last day for most people, some still have more time, including members of the military and others serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone localities who typically have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due. Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!  

ABA Tax Accounting

Amare Berhie, Senior Tax Accountant

amare@abataxaccounting.com

612-282-3200

866-936-0430 Toll Free

http://www.abataxaccounting.com

www.abatax81.blogspot.com

www.abataxaccounting.wordpress.com

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As self-employed how do I file my annual return?

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Federal, State, Local and International Taxes – To file your annual tax return Self-Employed Individual, you will need to use Schedule C or Schedule C – EZ to report your income or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor.

 

Small businesses and statutory employees with expenses of $5,000 or less may be able to file Schedule C-EZ instead of Schedule C.

 

In order to report your Social Security and Medicare taxes, you must file Schedule SE (Form 1040), Self-Employment Tax. Use the income or loss calculated on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ to calculate the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes you should have paid during the year. Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!  

ABA Tax Accounting

Amare Berhie, Senior Tax Accountant

amare@abataxaccounting.com

612-282-3200

866-936-0430 Toll Free

http://www.abataxaccounting.com

www.abatax81.blogspot.com

www.abataxaccounting.wordpress.com

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Who is Self-Employed? What New Business Owners Need to Know About Taxes

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Federal, State, Local and International Taxes – Generally, you are self-employed if any of the following apply to you.

  • You carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor.
  • You are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business.
  • You are otherwise in business for yourself (including a part-time business)

Self-Employed: Don’t Forget to Deduct Health Insurance Costs this Year. Under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, can reduce your net self-employment income by the amount of your self-employed health insurance deduction on Form 1040. Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!

ABA Tax Accounting

Amare Berhie, Senior Tax Accountant

amare@abataxaccounting.com

612-282-3200

866-936-0430 Toll Free

http://www.abataxaccounting.com

www.abatax81.blogspot.com

www.abataxaccounting.wordpress.com

Published in: on October 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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