benefits

Do You Know the ABCs of HSAs, FSAs and HRAs?

There continues to be much uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act and how such uncertainty will impact health care costs. So it’s critical to leverage all tax-advantaged ways to fund these expenses, including HSAs, FSAs and HRAs. Here’s how to make sense of this alphabet soup of health care accounts.

HSAs

If you’re covered by a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can contribute pretax income to an employer-sponsored Health Savings Account — or make deductible contributions to an HSA you set up yourself — up to $3,450 for self-only coverage and $6,900 for family coverage for 2018. Plus, if you’re age 55 or older, you may contribute an additional $1,000.

You own the account, which can bear interest or be invested, growing tax-deferred similar to an IRA. Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free, and you can carry over a balance from year to year.

FSAs

Regardless of […]

By |June 26th, 2018|affordable care act, Health care, hsa|0 Comments

Fringe Benefits – Transportation Updates

In years prior to the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress encouraged “green”efforts to protect the environment by giving employees tax breaks for carpooling and using mass transit. For employees, the TCJA doesn’t take away the tax-favored status of these commuting benefits (other than bicycle commuting) or the option to pay for them with pre-tax dollars. Instead, starting January 1, 2018 businesses can no longer take a deduction for transportation fringe benefits (including employee parking). This means for both profit and non-profit businesses, the cost of providing these benefits is generally increased by the corporate tax rate (21% as of January 1, 2018).

This poses a dilemma for employers. Either they continue to provide these transportation fringe benefits despite the loss of the business deduction or they discontinue making these benefits available. This will cause businesses to take a careful look at the tax impact/ cost of transportation benefits against the value to their employees (and in turn, the importance of attracting and retaining talent by offering these benefits). It is also possible that local ordinances may have an impact as well:

San Francisco, California. Businesses with a location in San Francisco (including nonprofit […]

By |March 1st, 2018|deduction, New Tax Laws|0 Comments

More Info on ACA Repeal and Replacement

House Republicans have unveiled a repeal and replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The GOP’s American Health Care Act (ACHA) would eliminate most of the ACA’s taxes, including penalties connected with individual and employer mandates, the net investment income (NII) tax and the Additional Medicare tax. Left in place, although delayed, would be the excise tax on high dollar health plans. Also left in place, would be a number of non-tax provisions related to scope of coverage, benefits and children- including allowing dependents to continue to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26, prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage or raising rates to patients based on pre-existing conditions, and forbidding life-time limits on insurance coverage.

The House GOP plan has been rejected by Democrats. Some Republicans have said the plan does not go far enough in repealing all of the ACA. As March moves forward, a vote on the house floor is eventually expected.

To read the impact of the ACA changes, new age-based credits, repeal of NII tax, expanded HSA and other topics, click the link for a detailed read from CCH and Wolters Kluwer. CCH Tax Briefing – ACA Repeal […]

By |March 14th, 2017|affordable care act, Health care|0 Comments

File and Suspend Method of Claiming Social Security Benefits to Be Eliminated

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314—the Act), signed by President Obama on 11/2/15, eliminates the file and suspend method, a popular strategy used by married couples to maximize their lifetime Social Security benefits. Under this approach, a higher earning spouse claims benefits at his full retirement age (currently age 66) but suspends the benefits until a later date (e.g., at age 70 or sooner, if desired), allowing the Social Security credits to continue to grow. The lower earning spouse claims benefits based on the higher earning spouse’s earning record, which are more than the benefits based on his or her own earnings record. In a provision labeled “closure of unintended loopholes,” the Act effectively eliminates this opportunity for claims filed after 4/30/16 (180 days after enactment). [ Note: Those who’ve been using this method or other eligible individuals who file to claim benefits under this method within the next 180 days should not be affected.]

By |December 2nd, 2015|social security|0 Comments

12 Planning Tips for Social Security Benefits

Article originally written by Theodore J. Sarenski, CPA/PFS on Nov 04, 2014, posted to AICPA

Helping clients plan for Social Security benefits may involve a lot of information gathering and research, but doing so could save them a heap of headaches and a lot of money. Here are 12 planning tips that stand out to me as potential opportunities. These can provide great relief and keep your clients out of the danger zone.

  1. If a person is past their full retirement age (age 66) and is submitting the initial application for Social Security retirement benefits, be sure to claim the allowed six months of retroactive benefits. One important question to consider is if your clients should start full retirement age at age 66 or wait until age 70. Life expectancy data shows that a person who retires at age 66 will live until 86.2, and a person who retires at age 70 will live until he or she is 87. With this in mind, I suggest waiting until age 70 to begin receiving benefits. Keep in mind there is an exception; the break-even point is age 81, so if your family history shows that most members do […]
By |November 6th, 2014|retirement, social security|0 Comments