IRS Issues Inflation Adjustments for Latest Tax Rates

The Internal Revenue Service has released the annual inflation adjustments for 2013, including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes from the recently enacted fiscal cliff legislation with its new tax rate of 39.6 percent and permanently patched Alternative Minimum Tax.

Revenue Procedure 2013-15 provides the 2013 cost-of-living adjustments for inflation for certain items, including the tax tables. It also includes items whose values were specified in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), such as the beginning of the 39.6 percent income tax brackets; the beginning income levels for the limitation on certain itemized deductions, and the beginning income levels for the phaseout of the personal exemptions.

In addition Rev. Proc. 2013-5 modifies Rev. Proc. 2011-52 to reflect an amendment to Section 132(f)(2) made by ATRA concerning qualified transportation fringe benefits. Specifically, for 2012, the monthly limitation regarding the aggregate fringe benefit exclusion amount for transit passes and transportation in a commuter highway vehicle is $240.

he tax items for 2013 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following changes.

• Beginning in tax year 2013 (generally for tax returns filed in 2014), a new tax rate of 39.6 percent has been added for individuals whose income exceeds $400,000 ($450,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return). The other marginal rates—10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent—remain the same as in prior years. The guidance contains the taxable income thresholds for each of the marginal rates.

• The standard deduction rises to $6,100 ($12,200 for married couples filing jointly), up from $5,950 ($11,900 for married couples filing jointly) for tax year 2012.

• The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 added a limitation for itemized deductions claimed on 2013 returns of individuals with incomes of $250,000 or more ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly).

• The personal exemption rises to $3,900, up from the 2012 exemption of $3,800. However beginning in 2013, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $150,000 ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $211,250 ($422,500 for married couples filing jointly.)

• The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2013 is $51,900 ($80,800, for married couples filing jointly), set by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which indexes future amounts for inflation. The 2012 exemption amount was $50,600 ($78,750 for married couples filing jointly).

• The maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,044 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $5,891 for tax year 2012.

• Estates of decedents who die during 2013 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,250,000, up from a total of $5,120,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2012.

• For tax year 2013, the monthly limitation regarding the aggregate fringe benefit exclusion amount for transit passes and transportation in a commuter highway vehicle is $245, up from $240 for tax year 2012 (the legislation provided a retroactive increase from the $125 limit that had been in place).

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Tax Benefits Increase from Inflation Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service said  that more than two dozen tax provisions will be adjusted for inflation for tax year 2013.

Among them, the annual exclusion for gifts rises to $14,000 for 2013, up from $13,000 for 2012. The amount used to reduce the net unearned income reported on a child’s tax return subject to the “kiddie tax,” is $1,000, up from $950 for 2012. The foreign earned income exclusion rises to $97,600, up from $95,100 in 2012.

Details on these inflation adjustments and others such as the low-income housing credit, the dollar limits for high-deductible health plans and other amounts can be found in Revenue Procedure 2012-41.

In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2013 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.  However, other limitations will remain unchanged because the increase in the index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. Highlights include:

• The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $17,000 to $17,500.

• The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $5,500.

• The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $59,000 and $69,000, up from $58,000 and $68,000 in 2012.  For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $95,000 to $115,000, up from $92,000 to $112,000.  For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $178,000 and $188,000, up from $173,000 and $183,000.

• The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $178,000 to $188,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $173,000 to $183,000 in 2012.  For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $112,000 to $127,000, up from $110,000 to $125,000.  For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.

• The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $59,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $57,500 in 2012; $44,250 for heads of household, up from $43,125; and $29,500 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $28,750.

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