The definitive arrival of the New Year does not spell doom for all tax savings opportunities for 2013. A few options remain to taxpayers:
Taxpayers have until April 15, 2014, to make tax-deferred contributions to a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). The amount any one taxpayer may contribute to an IRA is limited to $5,500 per taxpayer ($6,500 for taxpayers age 50 or older).
This amount begins to phase out after the taxpayer has adjusted gross income (AGI) over a certain amount ($59,000 for single and head of household filers; $95,000 for married filers). The phase out is complete once the taxpayer’s AGI exceeds $69,000 (single and head of household filers) or $115,000 (married filers).
If the taxpayer has already contributed to an IRA for 2013 (including a Roth IRA), the allowed $5,500 contribution is reduced by the amount of those previous contributions.
Taxpayers covered under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) also have until April 15, 2014, to make tax-deferred contributions to a health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account established for the purpose of paying the beneficiary’s qualified medical expenses.
Taxpayers who realize they should have been making estimated payments of tax throughout the year can avoid penalties for the fourth quarter of 2013 by making an estimated tax payment on or before January 15, 2014.
Other notable tax deadlines, other than the looming April 15, 2014 deadline for individual returns, include:
March 15: Taxpayers who contributed funds during 2013 to an employer-sponsored cafeteria plan through a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) have until March 15, 2014 to use them on any qualified medical expenses. Generally taxpayers must use all funds contributed to an FSA before the end of the year, unless their employer has amended the cafeteria plan to allow a grace period up until March 15. Taxpayers who are unsure of whether or not their flexible spending arrangement provides this grace period should contact their employer.
April 1: Taxpayers that have traditional IRAs are required to start taking minimum distributions from their IRAs in the year in which they turn age 70½. These are called required minimum distributions (RMDs), and they are calculated based on the account holder’s life expectancy. RMDs are required for traditional IRAs, but not Roth IRAs.
Taxpayers who just turned 70½ during 2013 may delay the first payment until April 1, 2014. However, for all years thereafter, the taxpayer must take the RMD by December 31 of the tax year. This means that a taxpayer who delays his or her first RMD payment until April 1, 2014, will be required to report two RMDs in his or her 2014 income.
Account owners who do no withdraw the full RMD amount by the deadline will be liable for tax at the rate of 50 percent on the amount not withdrawn
For more information on the upcoming tax return filing season, please contact our offices.