Tag Archives: income tax rates

If nothing is done families across the USA will experience tremendous tax increase in 2013

The federal government is spending like a drunk sailor (my apologies to sailors in this comparison) and you knew the tax increases were coming at some point.

Why Your Tax Bill Might Surge Next Year

by Bob Jennings
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In a recent tax planning meeting with one of our clients, we shocked them with what their income tax future looked like for 2013 if Congress continues to do nothing to provide a long-term permanent set of tax laws (and it looks as if lawmakers are headed down this track).

They had no idea what tax breaks were expiring this year and next year, and how much it would cost them personally in extra income tax. But they aren’t alone, many Americans and even tax professionals aren’t aware that their tax bill could rise dramatically next year.

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These clients are your average American family and their situation is a good example of the law changes that will affect all of us. Here’s their tax situation with a table summarizing the expiring tax laws that are scheduled to occur in 2011 and 2012.

Meet the Smiths: 26-year-olds Bill and Joan have been married for five years and have two young children. Bill earns about $65,000 a year in sales and Joan has gone back to work and earns about $35,000 annually. Bill owes quite a bit on his college student loans and will pay about $3,000 in interest on them in 2013. With Joan working again, they are paying $3,000 for year-round child care. Joan inherited some AT&T stock from her grandmother, which pays her $1,000 in dividends every year. Finally, counting home mortgage interest, they have about $20,000 in itemized deductions.

The first big change affecting the Smiths will be a combined increase in income tax rates, and a tightening of tax brackets as a result of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. We estimate this will cost them $960 in 2013.

Bill will lose the complete deduction of his student loan interest in 2013, costing about $840. The pair’s allowable deduction for child care will drop to $2,400 from $3,000, and they will also see their credit for children drop in half, costing another $1,000.

The marriage tax penalty will come roaring back to hit the Smiths in 2013, costing an estimated $500. The tax on their dividend income will go increase to $280 from $150, adding another $130. Finally, although we did not calculate the effect, without Congressional action to once again “fix” the alternative minimum tax, the Smiths could owe this ugly tax as well!

Luckily for the Smiths — but not for many Americans — other major changes for 2013, which do not personally affect them, include a phase out of itemized deductions and personal exemptions if their income starts to climb.

In summary, because of tax laws expiring this year and next, we estimate that the Smiths will owe $3,598 more in income tax in 2013 than in 2011 with no change in their income.

Major Individual Income Tax Benefits Expiring 12/31/2011:

• Personal tax credits applied against income tax no longer apply

• Higher alternative minimum tax exemptions revert back to extraordinarily-low thresholds

• $250 school teacher expense deduction ends

• Mortgage insurance premium deduction expires

• State and local sales tax deductions expire

• Tuition and related fees deduction end

• IRA to charity tax-free transfers stop

• 2% Social Security tax reduction ends

Major Individual Income Tax Benefits Expiring 12/31/2012:

• Marriage penalty equalization ends

• Dividends taxed at capital gains rates removed, taxed at regular rates now

• Capital gains low tax rates expires

• Removal of itemized deduction phase out for higher income Americans

• Removal of personal exemption phase out for higher income Americans

• Child care deduction limit of $3,000 reverts to $2,400

• Child credit reduces from $1,000 per child to $500 per child

• Low 10% tax bracket for low income Americans is eliminated

• Lower income tax rates and smaller brackets expires

• Refundable adoption credit and reduced deduction

• American Opportunity college education credit expires

• Major reduction in earned income credits and refunds

• Income tax exemption for debt forgiven on home foreclosures and repossessions

• Deduction for student loan interest ends

• Education IRA limit drops from $2,000 to $500

Bob Jennings is a CPA, EA and CFP and author of “Understanding Social Security & Medicare.”

Taxes per Household Have Risen Dramatically

Though the economic downturn has temporarily lowered overall tax revenues, the tax burden on Americans is still high.



Taxes per Household Have Risen Dramatically

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and White House Office of Management and Budget.

Chart 12 of 42

In Depth

  • Policy Papers for Researchers

  • Technical Notes

    The charts in this book are based primarily on data available as of March 2011 from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The charts using OMB data display the historical growth of the federal government to 2010 while the charts using CBO data display both historical and projected growth from as early as 1940 to 2084. Projections based on OMB data are taken from the White House Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The charts provide data on an annual basis except… Read More

  • Authors

    Emily GoffResearch Assistant
    Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy StudiesKathryn NixPolicy Analyst
    Center for Health Policy StudiesJohn FlemingSenior Data Graphics Editor

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President Obama is just trying to mislead people when he says that raising taxes on the rich is the answer to America’s problems.

One Simple Reason (and Two Easy Steps) to Show Why Obama’s Soak-the-Rich Tax Hikes Won’t Work

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

It’s hard to keep track of all the tax hikes that President Obama is proposing, but it’s very simple to recognize his main target — the evil, nasty, awful people known as the rich.

Or, as Obama identifies them, the “millionaires and billionaires” who happen to have yearly incomes of more than $200,000.

Whether the President is talking about higher income tax rates, higher payroll tax rates, an expanded alternative minimum tax, a renewed death tax, a higher capital gains tax, more double taxation of dividends, or some other way of extracting money, the goal is to have these people foot the bill for a never-ending expansion of the welfare state.

This sounds like a pretty good scam, at least if you’re a vote-buying politician, but there is one little detail that sometimes gets forgotten. Raising the tax burden is not the same as raising revenue.

That may not matter if you’re trying to win an election by stoking resentment with the politics of hate and envy. But it is a problem if you actually want to collect more money to finance a growing welfare state.

Unfortunately (at least from the perspective of the class-warfare crowd), the rich are not some sort of helpless pinata that can be pilfered at will.

The most important thing to understand is that the rich are different from the rest of us (or at least they’re unlike me, but feel free to send me a check if you’re in that category).

Ordinary slobs like me get the overwhelming share of our income from wages and salaries. The means we are somewhat easy victims when the politicians feel like raping and plundering. If my tax rate goes up, I don’t really have much opportunity to protect myself by altering my income.

Sure, I can choose not to give a speech in the middle of nowhere for $500 because the after-tax benefit shrinks. Or I can decide not to write an article for some magazine because the $300 payment shrinks to less than $200 after tax. But my “supply-side” responses don’t have much of an effect.

For rich people, however, the world is vastly different. As the chart shows, people with more than $1 million of adjusted gross income get only 33 percent of their income from wages and salaries. And the same IRS data shows that the super-rich, those with income above $10 million, rely on wages and salaries for only 19 percent of their income.

This means that they — unlike me and (presumably) you — have tremendous ability to control the timing, level, and composition of their income.

Indeed, here are two completely legal and very easy things that rich people already do to minimize their taxes – but will do much more frequently if they are targeted for more punitive tax treatment.

  1. They will shift their investments to stocks that are perceived to appreciate in value. This means they can reduce their exposure to the double tax on dividends and postpone indefinitely taxes on capital gains.  They get wealthier and the IRS collects less revenue.
  2. They will shift their investments to municipal bonds, which are exempt from federal tax. They probably won’t risk their money on debt from basket-case states such as California and Illinois (the Greece and Portugal of America), but there are many well-run states that issue bonds. The rich will get steady income and, while the return won’t be very high, they don’t have to give one penny of their interest payments to the IRS.

For every simple idea I can envision, it goes without saying that clever lawyers, lobbyists, accountants, and financial planners can probably think of 100 ways to utilize deductions, credits, preferences, exemptions, shelters, exclusions, and loopholes. This is why class-warfare tax policy is so self-defeating.

And all of this analysis doesn’t even touch upon the other sure-fire way to escape high taxes – and that’s to simply decide to be less productive. Most high-income people are hard-charging types who are investing money, building businesses, and otherwise engaging in behavior that is very good for them – but also very good for the economy.

But you don’t have to be an Ayn Rand devotee to realize that many people, to varying degrees, choose to “go Galt” when they feel that the government has excessively undermined the critical link between effort and reward.

Indeed, if Obama really wants to “soak the rich,” he might want to abandon his current approach and endorse a simple and fair flat tax. As explained in this video, this pro-growth reform does lead to substantial “Laffer Curve” effects.