Top Three Changes on the Tax Front for 2016

In one of its final legislative actions at the close of the year, Congress cleared the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes” (PATH) Act of 2015, which permanently reinstated a number of popular tax provisions that had lapsed in previous years (you can read more about the bill here).

Beyond the passage of the PATH Act, 2016 will bring a handful of minor changes that you’ll need to keep on your radar for next year. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great and all, but I’m focused on finalizing my 2015 tax return — I can’t even think a full year ahead.”

Sure, it may sound daunting — but it’s important to remember that tax planning is a year-round process, one that doesn’t halt once your return is signed and filed. The sooner you plan ahead and start the preparation process, the better your chances of achieving greater savings (and avoiding any unwelcome surprises) next year.

The first step: schedule a meeting with your advisor to get up-to-speed on the new adjustments and assess whether they’ll affect your tax plan moving forward.

Whats-Next-for-2016-Taxes-01

Here’s a quick look at the top changes that will take shape in 2016:

1. The Inflation Factor

Every year, the IRS releases a list of tax provisions that are adjusted for inflation.
Here’s a quick look at what’s changing this year:

Tax Brackets: The income limits for all tax brackets and filers will increase by 0.4% in 2016.

Personal Exemption: This exemption — which all taxpayers are permitted to take on their returns each year — is increasing to $4,050, up $50 from 2015.

Estate Tax Exemption: This year, the lifetime exemption for gift and estate taxes will see a big boost — the limit is expected to rise to $5.45 million, up $20,000 from 2015 (the limit applies to estates of those who pass away in 2016).

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Exemption: For single filers, the AMT exemption will increase to $53,900 and start to phase out at $119,700; for joint filers, the exemption is $83,800 and will begin to phase out at $159,700.

Standard Deductions: In 2016, heads of household will be able to take a deduction of up to $9,300, though limits for singles and married couples filing separately and jointly will remain the same ($6,300 for both singles and couples filing separately, and $12,600 for couples filing jointly).

Click here for more information about these changes, as well as other inflation-adjusted tax provisions for 2016.

2. A Steeper Penalty for the Uninsured

Don’t have health insurance? Be prepared to pay a hefty fine in 2016. Under the Affordable Care Act, the penalty for not having minimum essential medical coverage is calculated two ways: as a percentage of your household income and per person. You will pay whichever amount is greater. In 2016, the maximum penalty has risen to 2.5% of your household income, up from 2% in 2015. The per-person penalty has risen to $695 per adult and $347.50 per every child under the age of 18 — a grand total of $2,085.

Read More

3. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): A Step Up for Family Contributions

Families can bump up their health savings account (HSA) contributions by $100 this year, with the maximum limit rising to $6,750. The contribution limit for individuals will remain at $3,350, as will the catch-up contribution limit of $1,000 for those over age 55.

Read More

Before you give yourself a pat on the back for being prepared (though you should do that, too!), there’s one more item you’ll need to add to your tax prep to-do list — for this April, that is. Remember that the deadline to file your 2015 income tax return has been pushed back to April 18, which means you have a little extra time to gather your paperwork.
The reason for the change? Emancipation Day (a federal holiday) falls on Friday, April 15, this year, which requires the IRS to push the deadline to the following Monday.

As you run through this list, keep in mind that these changes aren’t exhaustive — tax bills are still moving through Congress, which could bring more adjustments over the course of the year. Meet regularly with your advisor throughout the year to ensure your plan is up-to-date — for 2016, 2017 and beyond.

 

Want to find out how these changes might affect your financial plan? Please call 888-520-3040 or find an advisor at an office near you

 

 

Hewins Financial Advisors, LLC d/b/a Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors, LLC (“Hewins”) is an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Hewins is a proud affiliate of Wipfli LLP. Information pertaining to Hewins’ advisory operations, services and fees is set forth in Hewins’ current Form ADV Part 2A brochure, copies of which are available upon request at no cost or at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. The views expressed by the author are the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent the views of Hewins or its affiliates. The information contained in any third-party resource cited herein is not owned or controlled by Hewins, and Hewins does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information that may be found in such resources. Links to any third-party resource are provided as a courtesy for reference only and are not intended to be, and do not act as, an endorsement by Hewins of the third party or any of its content or use of its content. The standard information provided in this blog is for general purposes only and should not be construed as, or used as a substitute for, financial, investment or other professional advice. If you have questions regarding your financial situation, you should consult your financial planner, investment advisor, attorney or other professional. Hewins does not provide tax, accounting or legal services.
OneBite Editorial Staff
OneBite Editorial Staff

OneBite® is a Top 50 Financial Advisor Blog powered by Hewins Financial Advisors. Founded in 2011, the digital magazine is dedicated to providing intelligent, in-depth coverage and analysis of the top financial and economic issues facing investors today.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Top Three Changes on the Tax Front for 2016

time to read: 3 min