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Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Despite the inaction of Congress, some changes are known for next year:

Tip #1: FICA Max Rises To $113,000

The Social Security Administration has announced that the maximum earnings subject to the 6.2 percent FICA tax rises to $113,700 for 2013 from the 2012 maximum of $110,100. This includes your 12.4 percent retirement portion of the self-employment tax.

The temporary reduction to 4.2 percent of the employee FICA is not expected to be renewed, meaning that if you are at the maximum earnings, your FICA tax rises by $2,425.

There is no change in the 2.9 percent Medicare tax split between employees and employers. This tax has no wage or self-employment income cap.

Tip #2: 2013 401(k) Max $17,500; IRS Issues Updated Retirement Plan Limits

The IRS has announced the inflation adjustments to retirement plans for 2013. Some highlights:

  • Maximum contributions to 401(k) and 403(b) plans rise to $17,500 (from $17,000 in 2012). Taxpayers who are 50 years old by the end of 2013 will be able to contribute an additional $5,500.
  • The maximum contribution to defined contribution plans increases from $50,000 to $51,000.
  • The annual defined benefit plan limit increases from $200,000 to $205,000.

Tip #3: Annual Per-Donor Gift Tax Exclusion Rises

For 2013, the gift tax exclusion rises to $14,000 from the current $13,000. (Please don’t forget your tax preparer.)

Tip #4: Eligible Long-Term Care Premium Deduction For 2013

Age Before December 31:      Premium Deduction:

40 or less:                                           $360

More than 40 but not more than 50:       $680

More than 50 but not more than 60:       $1,360

More than 60 but not more than 70:       $3,640

Over 70:                                              $4,550

Tip #5: Social Security Earnings Test

                                                                             2012             2013

Earnings needed to earn one Social Security Credit: $1,130          | $1,160

Under full retirement age:                                       $14,640/yr | $15,120/yr

Lose $1 for every $2 above the limit:                       $1,220/mo | $1,260/mo

Year You Reach Full Retirement Age (FRA):

Only for months prior to FRA:                                   $38,880/yr | $40,080/yr

Lose $1 for Every $3 above the limit:                        $3,240/mo | $3,340/mo

Tip #6: Traditional IRA Contributions

A traditional IRA might provide you a tax deduction for the year in which you contribute.

You can contribute $500 more to both traditional and Roth IRAs next year, increasing the limit for both types of accounts in 2013 at $5,500. This means that you can earn more, and still take advantage of a traditional IRA.

If you are a single or head-or household, your phaseout earnings increases by $1,000, to between $59,000 and $69,000.

If you are a married couple, and your spouse is contributing to an IRA, and is covered by a workplace retirement plan, your phaseout earnings increases by $3,000, to between $95,000 and $115,000.

If you are a married couple, not covered by a workplace retirement plan, but your spouse does have a 401(k), your phaseout earnings increases by $5,000, to between $178,000 and $188,000.

Remember, you still can roll over money from a traditional IRA to a Roth regardless of your AGI. But you’ll owe taxes on converted amounts.

Tip #7: Roth IRA Contributions

A Roth isn’t deductible, but when you take the money from this account in retirement you won’t owe any taxes

You can contribute $500 more to both traditional and Roth IRAs next year. That increase puts the limit for both types of accounts in 2013 at $5,500.

The Roth contribution limit is also increased for 2013.

If you are a single or head-or household, your phaseout earnings increases by $2,000, to between $112,000 and $127,000.

If you are a married couple, your phaseout earnings increases by $5,000, to between $178,000 and $188,000.

If you are a married, but filing separately, and covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.

If you make more than the top earnings amount for your filing status, you can’t contribute at all to a Roth.

Tip #8: Retirement Savers Credit

The retirement savers credit is a double tax break. You get up to $1,000 for putting money into a retirement plan, and you also receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction to your tax liability.

The limit here is based on your filing status and your AGI.

For 2013, these limits are:

  • $59,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $57,500 in 2012;
  • $44,250 for heads of household, up from $43,125 last year; and
  • $29,500 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $28,750 in 2012

If you qualify, definitely contribute to a retirement account next year and then claim your saver’s credit on your 2013 return.

Final Note: In case you missed my newsletter, the year is almost over. I hope you’re having a good year. We know many are not. There’s still time for year-end planning. Don’t be scared — planning will not hurt you.

Joseph Reisman, of Joseph S. Reisman & Associates, has been serving tax prep and business accounting expertise from his Coney Island Avenue office for more than 25 years. Check out the firm’s website.

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  • carlessfromSandy

    any info on whether there will be special tax breaks for hurricane related expenditures?

  • Joe Reisman

    No, nothing yet.