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Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) and Other Inflation Adjustments for 2015

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The IRS has recently released Revenue Procedure 2014-61, providing its annual inflation adjustments for various tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, standard deduction, personal exemptions, and other items.

Following are excerpts highlighting the items of most interest to taxpayers:

  • The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $413,200 ($464,850 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $406,750 and $457,600, respectively. The other marginal rates - 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent - and the related income tax thresholds are described in the revenue procedure.

  • The standard deduction will increase to $6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly, up from $6,200 and $12,400, respectively, for tax year 2014. The standard deduction for heads of household increases to $9,250, up from $9,100.

  • The itemized deduction limitation phase out for tax year 2015 returns of individuals will begin with income of $258,250 or more ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly).

  • The personal exemption for tax year 2015 increases to $4,000, up from the 2014 exemption of $3,950. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $258,250 ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $380,750 ($432,400 for married couples filing jointly.)

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2015 is $53,600 ($83,400, for married couples filing jointly). The 2014 exemption amount was $52,800 ($82,100 for married couples filing jointly). This is presently a provision that is expected to be extended but a new law has not passed as of this time.

  • The 2015 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,242 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,143 for tax year 2014.

  • Estates of decedents who die during 2015 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,430,000, up from a total of $5,340,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2014.

  • For 2015, the exclusion from tax on a gift to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen is $147,000, up from $145,000 for 2014.

  • For 2015, the foreign earned income exclusion breaks the six-figure mark, rising to $100,800, up from $99,200 for 2014.

  • The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000 for 2015.

  • The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored healthcare flexible spending arrangements (FSA) rises to $2,550, up $50 dollars from the amount for 2014.

  • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $17,500 to $18,000.

  • The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

  • The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) remains unchanged at $5,500. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

  • The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $61,000 and $71,000, up from $60,000 and $70,000 in 2014. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $98,000 to $118,000, up from $96,000 to $116,000. For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple's income is between $183,000 and $193,000, up from $181,000 and $191,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

  • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $183,000 to $193,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $181,000 to $191,000 in 2014. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $116,000 to $131,000, up from $114,000 to $129,000. For a married individual filing a separate return, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

  • The AGI limit for the Saver's Credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $61,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $60,000 in 2014; $45,750 for heads of household, up from $45,000; and $30,500 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $30,000.

  • Also, the Social Security Administration announced that the 2015 taxable wage base for the Social Security portion of FICA is $118,500, which is a $1,500 increase over the 2014 wage base of $117,000.

If you have any questions on the inflation adjustments and how they might affect you, please contact your Marcum tax professional. Other limitations that may not be mentioned in the summary above can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-14-61.pdf

 
 
 
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