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6 KEY TAX QUESTIONS FOR 2023 & IS YOUR BUSINESS AT RISK OF RETIREMENT PLAN LEAKAGE?
6 KEY TAX QUESTIONS FOR 2023
Right now, you may be more concerned about your 2022 tax bill than you are about how to handle your personal finances in the new year. However, as you deal with your annual tax filing, it’s a good idea to also familiarize yourself with pertinent amounts that may have changed for 2023.
Not all tax figures are adjusted for inflation. And even if they are, during times of low inflation the changes may be slight. When inflation is higher, as it currently is, the changes are generally more substantial. In addition, some tax amounts can change only with new tax legislation. Here are the answers to six commonly asked questions about 2023 tax-related figures:
1. How much can I contribute to an IRA for 2023? If you’re eligible, you can contribute up to $6,500 for 2023 to a traditional or Roth IRA (up from $6,000 for 2022). If you’re age 50 or older, you can make another $1,000 “catch-up” contribution.
2. I have a 401(k) plan through my job. How much can I contribute to it? For 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500 to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. You can make an additional $7,500 catch-up contribution if you’re age 50 or older. (These figures for 2022 were $20,500 and $6,500, respectively).
3. I sometimes hire a babysitter and a cleaning person. Do I have to withhold and pay FICA tax on the amounts I pay them? The threshold for when a domestic employer must withhold and pay FICA for babysitters, house cleaners and other domestic employees has increased to $2,600 for 2023 (up from $2,400).
4. How much do I have to earn in 2023 before I can stop paying Social Security tax on my salary? The Social Security tax wage base is $160,200 for 2023, up from $147,000 for 2022. That means that you don’t owe Social Security tax on amounts earned above that. (You must pay Medicare tax on all amounts that you earn.)
5. On my last income tax return, my itemized deductions didn’t exceed my standard deduction. What’s my standard deduction for 2023? If the total amount of your itemized deductions (such as charitable gifts and mortgage interest) is less than your applicable standard deduction amount, itemizing won’t save you taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the tax benefit of itemizing for many people by increasing the standard deduction and reducing or eliminating various itemized deductions. For 2023, the standard deduction amount is $27,700 for married couples filing jointly (up from $25,900 for 2022). For single filers, the amount is $13,850 (up from $12,950), and, for heads of households, it’s $20,800 (up from $19,400).
6. How much can I give to one person without having to file a gift tax return for 2023? The annual gift tax exclusion for 2023 is $17,000 (up from $16,000 in 2022). This amount is adjusted only in $1,000 increments, so it typically increases only every few years.
These are only some of the tax figures that may apply to you. For more information about your tax picture, or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Generally, the term “leakage” has negative connotations. So, it’s not surprising that the same is true in the context of retirement planning, where leakage refers to pre-retirement withdrawals from a retirement account. Now, as a business owner who sponsors a qualified retirement plan, you might say, “Well, that’s my participants’ business, not mine.”
However, there are valid reasons to address the issue with employees who participate in your plan.
Why does it matter?
For starters, leakage can lead to higher plan expenses. Fees are often determined on a per-account or per-participant basis. When a plan loses funds to leakage, total assets and individual account sizes shrink, which tends to hurt administrative efficiency and raise costs.
More broadly, if your employees are taking pre-retirement withdrawals, it could indicate they’re facing unusual financial challenges. These issues may have a negative impact on productivity and work quality and leave them unable to retire when they planned to.
What can you do?
The most important thing business owners can do to limit leakage is to remind employees about how pre-retirement withdrawals can diminish their accounts and delay their anticipated retirement dates. While you’re at it, consider providing broader financial education to help workers better manage their money, amass savings, and minimize or avoid the need for early withdrawals.
Some companies offer emergency loans that are repayable through payroll deductions to reduce the use of retirement funds. Others have revised their plan designs to limit the situations under which plan participants can take out hardship withdrawals or loans.
Can you eliminate the problem?
According to a 2021 report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, roughly 22% of net contributions made by people ag 50 or younger leaks out of the retirement savings system in a given year. Some percentage of retirement plan leakage will probably always occur, but becoming aware of the problem and taking steps to minimize it are still worthwhile for any business.
Dec 2022 - What’s Your Taxpayer Filing Status? & Have You Considered A Cost Segregation Study? WHAT’S YOUR TAXPAYER FILING STATUS? For many people, December 31 means a New Year’s Eve celebration. However, from a tax perspective, it’s a key date in determining the filing status you’ll use when filing your tax return for the year. The one you’ll use depends partly on whether you’re married on that date. The five statuses When you file your federal tax return, you do so with one of five filing statuses. First, there’s “single” status, which is generally used if you’re unmarried, divorced or legally separated. A second status, “married filing jointly,” is for married couples who file a tax return together. If your spouse passes away, you can usually still file a joint return for that year. A third status, “married filing separately,” is for married couples who choose to file separate returns. In some cases, doing so may result in less tax owed. “Head of household” is a fourth status. Certain unmarried taxpayers with dependents qualify to use it and potentially pay less tax. Finally, there’s a fifth status: “qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child.” It may be used if your spouse died during one of the previous two years and you have a dependent child. (Other conditions apply.) Head of household Let’s focus on head-of-household status because it’s often misunderstood and can be more favorable than filing as a single taxpayer. To qualify, you must “maintain a household” that, for more than half the year, is the principal home of a “qualifying child” or other relative that you can claim as a dependent. A qualifying child is defined as someone who lives in your home for more than half the year and is your child, stepchild, foster child, sibling, stepsibling or a descendant of any of these. A qualifying child must also be under 19 years old (or a full-time student under age 24) and be unable to provide over half of his or her own support for the year. Different rules may apply if a child’s parents are divorced. Also, a child isn’t a qualifying child if he or she is married and files jointly or isn’t a U.S. citizen or resident. For head-of-household filing status, you’re considered to maintain a household if you live in it for the tax year and pay more than half the cost of running it. This includes property taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, property insurance, repairs, upkeep and food consumed in the home. Medical care, clothing, education, life insurance and transportation aren’t included. Under a special rule, you can qualify as head of household if you maintain a home for a parent even if you don’t live with the parent. To qualify, you must be able to claim the parent as your dependent. You must generally be unmarried to claim head-of-household status. However, if you’ve lived apart from your spouse for the last six months of the year, you have a qualifying child living with you and you maintain the household, you’re typically considered unmarried. In this case, you may be able to qualify as head of household. Not always obvious Filing status may seem obvious, but there can be situations when it warrants careful consideration. If you have questions about yours, contact us. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A COST SEGREGATION STUDY? Because of the economic impact of inflation, many companies may need to conserve cash and not buy much equipment. As a result, you may not be able to claim as many depreciation tax deductions as in the past. However, if your company owns real property, there may be another approach to depreciation to consider: a cost segregation study. Depreciation basics Business buildings generally have a 39-year depreciation period (27.5 years for residential rental properties). Typically, companies depreciate a building’s structural components (including walls, windows, HVAC systems, plumbing and wiring) along with the building. Personal property (such as equipment, machinery, furniture and fixtures) is eligible for accelerated depreciation, usually over five or seven years. And land improvements, such as fences, outdoor lighting and parking lots, are depreciable over 15 years. Often, businesses allocate all or most of their buildings’ acquisition or construction costs to real property, overlooking opportunities to allocate costs to shorter-lived personal property or land improvements. Items that appear to be “part of a building” may in fact be personal property. Examples include removable wall and floor coverings, removable partitions, awnings, canopies, window treatments, signs and decorative lighting. Pinpointing costs A cost segregation study combines accounting and engineering techniques to identify building costs that are properly allocable to tangible personal property rather than real property. Although the relative costs and benefits of a cost segregation study will depend on your particular facts and circumstances, it can be a valuable investment. It may allow you to accelerate depreciation deductions on certain items, thereby reducing taxes and boosting cash flow. And, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the potential benefits of a cost segregation study are even greater than they were years ago because of enhancements to certain depreciation-related tax breaks. Worth a look Cost segregation studies have costs all their own, but the potential long-term tax benefits may make it worth your while to undertake the process. Contact our firm for further details. fffff