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Kevin Roberts, CPA

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Other Articles by Kevin Roberts CPA

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- 11 Traits of The Financially Secure

 

- 5 More Bad Money Habits and How to Overcome Them

 

- 5 Ways We Keep Avoiding Better Money Habits

 

- The Starting Point for Tax Planning

 

- 6 Steps to Estate Planning Done Right

 

- A Billionaire's 4 Keys to Success

 

- Useful Financial Benchmarks for Mid-Life

- Confronting The Lies That Threaten Our Financial Stability

 

- Top 5 Ways to Confront Worries

- Self-Protection Through Knowing How Long To Keep Tax Records
 

- Identity Thieves Want YOUR Tax Return
 

- The Power of Specialized Knowledge
 

- Take A Test Drive Of Your Retirement Plans

 



 

 

 

 

 

Take Time to Check Withholding + Who Should Take Retirement Plan Distributions by Dec. 31? + IRS Reveals 2016 Pension Plan Limitations


 

Tax Preparedness Series: Employees Should Take Time to Check Withholding

 

As a taxpayer we want to remind you that the earlier in the year you check your withholding, the easier it will be to get the right amount of tax withheld.

Besides wages, income tax is often withheld from other types of income, such as pensions, bonuses, commissions and gambling winnings. Ideally, taxpayers should try to match their withholding with their actual tax liability. If not enough tax is withheld, they will owe tax at the end of the year and may have to pay interest and a penalty. If too much tax is withheld, they will lose the use of that money until they get their refund.

This is the first in a series of weekly tax preparedness releases designed to help taxpayers begin planning to file their 2015 return.

When Should Taxpayers Check their Withholding?

- When a taxpayer gets a big refund, or finds that they have an unexpected balance due.

- Any time there are personal or financial changes that might affect their tax liability, such as getting married, getting divorced, having a child or buying a home.

- When there are changes in federal tax law that might affect their tax liability.

How to Check the Amount being withheld

Use the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov. This easy-to-use tool can help figure the taxpayer's federal income tax withholding so their employer can withhold the correct amount from their pay. This is particularly helpful if they've had too much or too little withheld in the past, their situation has changed, or they started a new job.

Taxpayers may also use the worksheets and tables in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, to see if they are having the right amount of tax withheld.

 

Quick and Easy Payment Options

The IRS Direct Pay system offers taxpayers the fastest and easiest way to pay what they owe. Available through the Pay Your Tax Bill icon on IRS.gov, this free online system allows individuals to securely pay their tax bills or make quarterly estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. So far this year, more than 4.1 million tax payments totaling over $15 billion have been received from individual taxpayers through Direct Pay.

Taxpayers can also pay by debit or credit card. While the IRS does not charge a fee for this service, the payment processor will. Other e-pay options include the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (pre-registration is required) and Electronic Funds Withdrawal which is available when e-Filing. Taxpayers can even e-pay what they owe using, IRS2Go , the agency's popular mobile phone app. All of the electronic payment options are quick, easy and secure and much faster than mailing in a check or money order. Those choosing to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the "United States Treasury."

 

  Last May I hosted a live webinar on Social Security Strategies and Secrets you should understand and use as you contribute and eventually take distributions from this program.  If you are interested in watching the VIDEO REPLAY you can click here.  Kevin
 



Taxpayers with extensions should file their returns by Oct. 15, even if they can't pay the full amount due. By doing so, taxpayers will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month, that would otherwise apply to any unpaid balance after Oct. 15. However, interest, currently at the rate of 3 percent per year compounded daily, and late-payment penalties, normally 0.5 percent per month, will continue to accrue.

Fresh Start for Struggling Taxpayers

In many cases, those struggling to pay taxes qualify for one of several relief programs. Most people can set up a payment agreement with the IRS on line in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement to set up a monthly payment agreement for up to 72 months or request a short-term payment plan. Taxpayers can choose this option even if they have not yet received a bill or notice from the IRS.

Taxpayers can also request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov and mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.

Alternatively, some struggling taxpayers qualify for an Offer-in-Compromise. This is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer's tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Generally, an offer will not be accepted if the IRS believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer's income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer's ability to pay. To help determine eligibility, use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier, a free online tool available on IRS.gov.

Details on all filing and payment options are on IRS.gov.

 


 

Most Retirees Need to Take Required Retirement Plan Distributions by Dec. 31

 

A reminder for taxpayers born before July 1, 1945, that they generally must receive payments from their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31.

Known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), these payments normally must be made by the end of 2015. But a special rule allows first-year recipients of these payments, those who reached age 70 during 2015, to wait until as late as April 1, 2016 to receive their first RMDs. This means that those born after June 30, 1944, and before July 1, 1945, are eligible for this special rule. Though payments made to these taxpayers in early 2016 can be counted toward their 2015 RMD, they are still taxable in 2016.

This is the second in a series of weekly tax preparedness releases designed to help taxpayers begin planning to file their 2015 return.

The required distribution rules apply to owners of traditional, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) and Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs but not Roth IRAs while the original owner is alive. They also apply to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

An IRA trustee must either report the amount of the RMD to+ the IRA owner or offer to calculate it for the owner. Often, the trustee shows the RMD amount on Form 5498 in Box 12b. For a 2015 RMD, this amount is on the 2014 Form 5498 normally issued to the owner during January 2015.

The special April 1 deadline only applies to the RMD for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31. So, for example, a taxpayer who turned 70 in 2014 (born after June 30, 1943 and before July 1, 1944) and received the first RMD (for 2014) on April 1, 2015 must still receive a second RMD (for 2015) by Dec. 31, 2015.

The RMD for 2015 is based on the taxpayer's life expectancy on Dec. 31, 2015, and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2014. The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner on Form 5498 in Box 5. Use the online worksheets on IRS.gov or find worksheets and life expectancy tables to make this computation in the Appendices to Publication 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

For most taxpayers, the RMD is based on Table III (Uniform Lifetime Table) in IRS Publication 590-B. So for a taxpayer who turned 72 in 2015, the required distribution would be based on a life expectancy of 25.6 years. A separate table, Table II, applies to a taxpayer whose spouse is more than 10 years younger and is the taxpayer's only beneficiary.

Though the RMD rules are mandatory for all owners of traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and participants in workplace retirement plans, some people in workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMDs. Usually, employees who are still working can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions. See Tax on Excess Accumulations in Publication 575. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.

 



IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2016

The Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2016. In general, the pension plan limitations will not change for 2016 because the increase in the cost-of-living index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will change because the increase in the index did meet the statutory thresholds.

The highlights of limitations that changed from 2015 to 2016 include the following:

- 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 $184,000 and $194,000, up from $183,000 and $193,000.


- The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $184,000 to $194,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $183,000 to $193,000. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $117,000 to $132,000, up from $116,000 to $131,000.


- The AGI limit for the saver's credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $61,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $61,000; $46,125 for heads of household, up from $45,750; and $30,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $30,500.

The highlights of limitations that remain unchanged from 2015 include the following:

- 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 remains unchanged at $18,000.


- 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 $6,000.


- The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) remains unchanged at $5,500. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.


- The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for those who have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) within a certain range. For singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range remains unchanged at $61,000 to $71,000. 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 remains unchanged at $98,000 to $118,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.


- The AGI phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

Below are details on both the adjusted and unchanged limitations.

> Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. Section 415(d) requires that the Secretary of the Treasury annually adjust these limits for cost-of-living increases. Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415. Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made pursuant to adjustment procedures which are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.


> Effective January 1, 2016, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) remains unchanged at $210,000. For a participant who separated from service before January 1, 2016, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant's compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2015, by 1.0011.


> The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) remains unchanged in 2016 at $53,000.


> The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2016 are as follows:


> The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) remains unchanged at $18,000.


> The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) remains unchanged at $265,000.


> The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan remains unchanged at $170,000.


> The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5-year distribution period remains unchanged at $1,070,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5-year distribution period remains unchanged at $210,000.


> The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) remains unchanged at $120,000.


> The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $6,000. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $3,000.


> The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost-of-living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, remains unchanged at $395,000.


> The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $600.


> The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts remains unchanged at $12,500.


> The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations remains unchanged at $18,000.


> The compensation amount under Section 1.61-21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of "control employee" for fringe benefit valuation remains unchanged at $105,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61-21(f)(5)(iii) remains unchanged at $215,000.


> The Code provides that the $1,000,000,000 threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systematically important plan under section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment provided under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(bb). After taking the applicable rounding rule into account, the threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systematically important plan under section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is increased in 2016 from $1,000,000,000 to $1,012,000,000.


> The Code also provides that several pension-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2016 are as follows:


> The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $36,500 to $37,000; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $39,500 to $40,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $61,000 to $61,500.


> The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $27,375 to $27,750; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $29,625 to $30,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $45,750 to $46,125.


> The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $18,250 to $18,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $19,750 to $20,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $30,500 to $30,750.


> The deductible amount under Section 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions remains unchanged at $5,500.


> The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) remains unchanged at $98,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) remains unchanged at $61,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(iii) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $183,000 to $184,000.


> The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $183,000 to $184,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $116,000 to $117,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(III) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0.


> The dollar amount under Section 430(c)(7)(D)(i)(II) used to determine excess employee compensation with respect to a single-employer defined benefit pension plan for which the special election under Section 430(c)(2)(D) has been made is increased from $1,101,000 to $1,106,000.

If you have comments or questions on the information in these articles, as usual feel free to call our offices at 502-426-0000.
 


 

Please Would You Give Us Your Feedback & a Testimonial on Our Hotline at 800-609-9006 ext. 9078

 

Hey it's Kevin Roberts and I wanted to ask you a favor.  We've just installed a toll-free number that I would like for you to call and tell me how you think we are doing as your CPA firm.

 

Just dial 800-609-9006 ext. 9078 and follow the instructions, it only takes 1 minute.  If we've done a good job please let me know.

 

And if we can improve on anything, please mention that too. Thanks!  Kevin

 


 

Remember you can call our offices if you have any questions about these or any other bookkeeping, accounting, tax, financial planning or insurance related issues, at 502-426-0000. 

 

Regards, Kevin Roberts, CPA

President, Roberts CPA Group

 

 

 

 

Kevin Roberts, CPA | Roberts CPA Group | 201b Townepark Circle
Louisville, KY 40243 | 502-426-0000 | Fax: 502-805-0408
La Grange office: 209 S 1st Street | La Grange, KY 40031
502-222-7260 | www.louisville-tax.com