You, your employees or your clients may receive one or more forms that provide information about 2015 health coverage. These are Form 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C. The following health care tax tips provide some answers to common questions about these forms:
As a reminder during this tax season as well as throughout the year, it is important to keep in mind that the IRS will not contact you by phone or e-mail regarding tax liens or outstanding tax liabilities. The IRS has strict protocols when contacting taxpayers regarding tax deficiencies, with letters of correspondence being their official method of first contact.
How to identify a tax scam:
On December 18th, right before shutting down for the holidays, Congress has passed 50 major changes for the upcoming tax filing season. Some of the tax extenders will be quite important, while others may go by without much notice. We’re taking a look at the notable changes.
Some of the previously enacted temporary provisions, have been made permanent:
The tax deadline that is coming up in four months is also an important date for health savings account (HSA) contributions. Similar to an IRA, you have the option of electing whether or not you want to apply the contributions to the 2015 or 2016 tax year. Find out the best ways to use your health savings account by reading about HSA contribution limit.
You can contribute up to $3,350 for individual health insurance coverage and $6,650 for family coverage and an additional $1,000 if you’re 55 years or older. To contribute to a health savings account, you must have a high-deductible health insurance plan of at least $1,300 for individual coverage and $2,000 for a family plan.
Those fortunate enough to be named a beneficiary of a retirement account will want to know the nuances for reporting income on their tax return. This is specifically important when the account holder passes away before or after the time they are supposed to take required minimum distributions (RMDs).
Traditional IRA and 401(K) account holders are required to start taking minimum distributions when they reach the age of 70 ½, even if they are still working for an employer at the time. However, in the first year they are required to take distributions, they can defer it until April 1st of the following year.
Itemizing deductions in itself does not increase the chances of being audited. If we reference the latest IRS statistics, the taxpayer’s income is more of a factor than whether or not they itemized. Specifically:
That being said, if the taxpayer has significant itemized miscellaneous expenses in relation to their income, then that can certainly raise a red flag.
The obvious answer is that if your itemized expenses exceed the standard deduction, you should itemize. That being said, if you don’t have the actual receipts and supporting documentation to justify claiming those expenses, then you run the risk of losing those deductions as a result of an audit, which can be costly from an interest and penalties perspective. Not to mention, you’ll likely need to hire a tax professional to assist you with IRS correspondences.
Many existing or soon to be retirees should pay careful attention to the tax breaks that are available to them. As most of us know, when you’re on a fixed budget, every dollar counts. So, what are some of the tax breaks for retirees?
This can be overlooked as many elderly taxpayers may think there’s no chance of deducting these medical expenses. That’s not always true. We’ve seen countless examples of those on dialysis being prescribed specific supplements & vitamins by their doctor that goes beyond just caring for their general health. With the proper support, in those instances, the costs which can be in the several thousand dollar range and possibly greater are eligible deductions. Specifically, if we reference IRS Publication 502 page 16 — it states, “You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, “natural medicines,” etc. unless they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician. Otherwise, these items are taken to maintain your ordinary good health, and are not for medical care.”
If you did inherit an IRA account from a deceased relative that was under the age of 70 1/2, you’ll be prompted to elect a distribution option. The options are to take a lump-sum distribution, open an inherited IRA based on the life expectancy method or open an inherited IRA based on the 5 year method. What should you do?
In this instance, all assets in the IRA are distributed to you at once. You will pay income taxes on the distribution all at once. You may also move to a higher tax bracket depending on the amount of the distribution and your current income level. However, you will not incur the 10% early withdrawal penalty. This is the option in which you will likely pay a significant amount of taxes in year 1.
If your company offers a 401(K) plan to your employees, some of them may inquire about treating the contributions as Roth contributions. This is how you can be prepared to answer their questions about Roth 401(k) contributions.
This type of employer-provided retirement account allows the employee to designate Roth contributions of up to $18,000 or $24,000 if 50 or older (reference IRC Section 402(g)) for the 2015 tax year. Similar to a Roth IRA, the contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but appreciate tax-free over time. A key benefit of the Roth 401(K) is that there is no income limit as is the case with a Roth IRA. You can earn $1 million and still be eligible.