2012 TAX DEVELOPMENTS
2012 TAX DEVELOPMENTS AND UPDATES
Social Security Tax Updates
The wage base for computing the Social Security tax in 2012 increases to $110,100 from $106,800
The FICA tax rate for employees, which was reduced in 2011 to 4.2% from the normal 6.2%, reverts back to 6.2% in 2012
Cash paid by an employer for domestic service in the employer’s private home is not considered FICA wages if the amount paid during the year is less than $1,800 (up from $1,700 for 2011). The dollar threshold applies separately to each domestic employee.
2012 Tax Benefit Increases
For tax year 2012 personal and dependent exemption is $3,800, an increase of $100 from 2011.
The new standard deduction is $11,900 for married couples filing a joint return, up $300; $5,950 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up $150; and $8,700 for heads of household, up $200.
2012 Credits, deductions, and related phase outs For tax year 2012, the maximum earned income tax credit (EITC) for low- and moderate- income workers and working families rises to $5,891, up from $5,751 in 2011. The maximum income limit for the EITC rises to $50,270, up from $49,078 in 2011.The credit varies by family size, filing status and other factors, with the maximum credit going to joint filers with three or more qualifying children.
The foreign earned income deduction rises to $95,100, an increase of $2,200 from the maximum deduction for tax year 2011.
The modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning education credit begins to phase out is $104,000 for joint filers, up from $102,000, and $52,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $51,000.
The $2,500 maximum deduction for interest paid on student loans begins to phase out for a married taxpayers filing a joint returns at $125,000 and phases out completely at $155,000, an increase of $5,000 from the phase out limits for tax year 2011. For single taxpayers, the phase out ranges remain at the 2011 levels.
Estate and Gift 2012
For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2012, the basic exclusion from estate tax is $5,120,000, up from $5,000,000 for calendar year 2011. The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $13,000 per donee.
Pension Plan Limitations 2012
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 $16,500 to $17,000.
The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500.
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 $58,000 and $68,000, up from $56,000 and $66,000 in 2011. 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 $92,000 to $112,000, up from $90,000 to $110,000. 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 $173,000 and $183,000, up from $169,000 and $179,000.
The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $173,000 to $183,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $169,000 to $179,000 in 2011. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $110,000 to $125,000, up from $107,000 to $122,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.
The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and moderate-income workers is $57,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $56,500 in 2011; $43,125 for heads of household, up from $42,375; and $28,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $28,250.