Taxes schmaxes – I am so over the fiscal cliff. These on-again off-again talks were insane and it’s crazy to me that the negotiations came down to the 11th hour. Post signing the legislation of the fiscal cliff deal, here are the top 4 things you need to know about taxes and the fiscal cliff.
1. All tax rates stay the same. Congress added a bracket. The only tax bracket that changes is the top rate, which was 35% and is now 39.6% for individuals making over $400,000 and $450,000 for married filing jointly.
2. No more payroll tax holiday for employees. The social security FICA tax paid by employees was reduced from 6.20% to 4.20% up to the annual wage base of $113,700. Similarly, the rate for self employed individuals was reduced from 12.40% to 10.40%. In 2013, that is now gone, and the employee’s portion of the payroll tax goes back up to 6.20%. This change affects everyone, whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee. For example, if you make $100,000 you will pay $2,000 more in taxes.
3. Dividends and long term capital gains are still taxed at a rate of 15% (0% for low income investors). But the rate jumps to 20% for individuals making more than $400,000 or married filing jointly of $450,000.
4. The estate tax exemption stays at $5 million (indexed to inflation). It does NOT drop back to $1 million. The estate tax rate goes to 40% from 35%.
Disclaimer: Consult your tax professional for more information pertaining to your taxes and specific financial situation.
Planning your finances doesn’t have to come down to the last hour. Be proactive. Don’t kick the can down the road. Plan and create your financial future. After all, it’s your money.