Taxes

Tax Moves to Consider in Summer

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Now is a good time to think about a few financial matters.

 

Consider making tax moves earlier rather than later. If you own a business, earn significant investment income, are recently married or divorced, or have a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), you may want to work on your income tax strategy now rather than in December or April.

   

Do you need to pay estimated income tax? If you are newly retired or newly self-employed, you will want to be familiar with Form 1040-ES and the quarterly deadlines. Each year, estimated tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service are due on or before the following dates: January 15, April 15, June 15, and September 15. (These deadlines are adjusted to the next available workday if a due date falls on a weekend or holiday.) 1

 

Ideally, you would just make four equal payments per year – but if you are a small business owner, your business income could vary per quarter or per season. The risk here is that you will underpay and set yourself up for a tax penalty. Confer with your tax professional to see if you should adjust your estimated tax payments for this or that quarter. 1

  

Has your household size changed? That calls for a look at your pre-tax withholding. No doubt you would like to take home more money now rather than wait to receive it in the form of a tax refund later. Adjusting the withholding on your W-4 may bring you more take-home pay. Ideally, you would adjust it so that you end up owing no tax and receiving no refund. You can adjust it at the I.R.S. Tax Withholding webpage, or via a paper W-4 form. 2

   

Think about how you could use your FSA dollars before the end of the year. The Department of the Treasury has modified the rules for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The I.R.S. now permits an employer to let an employee carry up to $500 in FSA funds forward into the next calendar year. Alternately, the employer can allow the FSA account-holder extra time to use FSA funds from the prior calendar year (up to 2.5 months). Companies do not have to allow either choice, however. If no grace period or carry-forward is permitted at your workplace, you will want to spend 100% of your FSA funds this year. 3

   

You could help your tax situation by contributing to certain retirement accounts. IRAs and non-Roth workplace retirement plans are funded with pre-tax dollars. By directing money into these retirement savings vehicles, you position yourself for federal tax savings in the year of the contribution. If you are able to make the maximum traditional IRA contribution of $6,000 in 2019, and you are in the 24% tax bracket, that will allow you to claim a $1,440 federal tax deduction for 2019. 4

 

While next April may seem far off, this is an excellent time to think about tax-saving possibilities. You have plenty of time to explore your options.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

    

Citations.

1 - web.blockadvisors.com/estimated-tax-payments-2019/ [5/23/19]

2 - turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/tax-refund/top-5-reasons-to-adjust-your-w-4-withholding/L8Gqrgm0V [5/23/19]

3 - investopedia.com/ask/answers/111615/does-money-flexible-spending-account-fsa-roll-over.asp [5/21/19]

4 - fool.com/retirement/2018/12/23/the-6-best-tax-deductions-for-2019.aspx [12/23/18]

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The Gift Tax

Presented By Beacon Financial Group

Not all gifts are taxable

I’d like for you to meet my friend, Hugh. He’s a retired film stuntman who, after a long career, is enjoying his retirement. Some of what he’s enjoying about his retirement is sharing part of his accumulated wealth with his family, specifically his wife and two sons. Like many Americans, Hugh likes to make sure that, when he’s sharing that wealth, he isn’t giving the I.R.S. any overtime.

 

Hugh knows about the gift tax and knows how to make those gifts without running headlong into a taxable situation. This is Hugh’s responsibility because the I.R.S. puts the onus on the giver. If the gift is a taxable event and Hugh doesn’t pay up, then the responsibility falls to the beneficiaries after he passes in the form of estate taxes. These rules are in place so that Hugh can’t simply, say, give his entire fortune to his sons before he dies.

 

Exemptions for family and friends. It would be different for Hugh’s wife, Barbara. The unlimited marital deduction means that gifts that Hugh gives to Barbara (or vice versa) never incur the gift tax. There’s one exception, though. Maybe Barbara is a non-U.S. citizen. If so, there’s a limit to what Hugh can offer her, up to $155,000 per year. (This is the limit for 2019; it’s pegged to inflation.) 1,2

 

The gift limit for other people is $15,000 and it applies to both cash and non-cash gifts. So, if Hugh buys his older son Tony a $15,000 motorcycle, it’s the same as writing a $15,000 check to his younger son, Jerry, or gifting $15,000 in stock. Spouses have their own separate gift limit, as well; Barbara could also write Jerry a $15,000 check from the account she shares with Hugh. 1,2

Education and healthcare. The gift tax doesn’t apply to funds for education or healthcare. So, if Tony breaks his leg riding that motorcycle, Hugh can write a check to the hospital. If Jerry goes back to college to become a chiropodist, Hugh can write a tuition check to the college. This only works if Hugh is writing the check to the institution directly; if he’s writing the check to the beneficiaries (i.e. Tony and Jerry), he might incur the gift tax. 1,2

 

The Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption. What if Hugh were to go over the limit? The lifetime gift tax exemption would go into effect, and the rest would be reported as part of the lifetime exemption via Form 709 come next April. Unlike the annual exemption, the lifetime exemption is cumulative for Hugh. Currently, that lifetime exemption is $11.4 million. 1,2

 

Being a stuntman and an active extreme sportsman, Hugh is concerned about his estate strategy. Were he to borrow Tony’s motorcycle and attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon, what would happen if he didn’t make it across? If that unfortunate event occurred in 2019, and he gave $9 million over his lifetime, and his estate and all of that giving totaled more than $2.4 million, the estate may owe a federal tax and possibly a state estate tax. Barbara would have her own $11.4 million lifetime exemption, however, and since she is the spouse, estate taxes may not apply. 1,2

 

Any wise stuntman will tell you, “leave this to the experts.” Talk to a trusted financial professional about your own plans for giving.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

 

Citations.

1 - thebalance.com/gift-tax-exclusion-annual-exclusion-vs-lifetime-exemption-3505656 [2/9/2019]
2 - cstaxtrustestatesblog.com/2018/11/articles/estate-tax/2019-estate-gift-tax-update/ [11/19/2018]