The Affordable Care Act introduced two major taxes on high income taxpayers in 2013. The first, which is the subject of this blog post, is a new tax on investment income. The other tax is a 0.9% surtax on wages and compensation over threshold amounts, and will be discussed in the companion blog post to this one. The net investment income tax of I.R.C. § 1411, designed to generate additional revenue for Medicare, is a 3.8% tax on “Net Investment Income.” The tax will only apply to taxpayers whose “modified adjusted gross income” exceeds a threshold amount based on the taxpayers’ filing status. Modified adjusted gross income is the same as adjusted gross income except for some minor adjustments for foreign earned income. The modified adjusted gross income thresholds are:

– $200,000 for single taxpayers
– $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, and
– $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately.

The 3.8% tax is imposed on the lesser of the net investment income or the amount by
which the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold amount. To illustrate how the tax works, let’s take a hypothetical married couple named Fred and Marcy. Fred earns $95,000 in wages, and Marcy earns $100,000 in wages in 2013. They also own a substantial amount of stock in MegaCorp. which pays them a dividend of $30,000 in 2013. Although the $30,000 dividend is net investment income, Fred and Marcy will not be subject to the tax because their total adjusted gross income ($225,000 = $95,000 + $100,000 + $30,000), does not exceed the $250,000 threshold for married filing jointly taxpayers.

If, for example, Marcy actually earned $150,000 per year, then the couple’s adjusted gross income would be $275,000, of which $30,000 is net investment income. In this situation, Fred and Marcy will be subject to an additional net investment income tax of $950. Their modified adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold amount by $25,000, which is less than the $30,000 of net investment income, and therefore the 3.8% is applied to this $25,000.

Net Investment Income is broken down into three categories. First, there is gross income from interest, dividends, and rents. It is important to note that rental income is only for net rental income, and deductions for rental activity are allowable in calculated net rental income for net investment income tax purposes. The next category is net gain attributable to the disposition of property that is not “trade or business property.” Therefore, stocks sold at a gain will increase net investment income, but gain on the sale of equipment used in a business will not be added to the net investment income calculation. The final category of income is “other income” derived from passive activity trade or business, which includes partnership or S Corporation income allocated to a limited partner or S corporation shareholder who is not involved in the day to day operation of the company. It is also important to note that net investment income does not include any distributions from retirement plans.

The following is a slightly more complicated example which details some of the principles of net investment income detailed above. Fred is a self-employed contractor and earns $100,000 per year. In his business as a contractor, he owns a particular tool that has appreciated substantially in value because the manufacturer has ceased making that particular model. He sells that tool for a gain of $10,000. He is also a limited partner in his son’s ice cream business, and $50,000 is allocated to him as net income for the year. Marcy earns $100,000 per year in wages, and the couple earns the same $30,000 dividend from MegaCorp. The couple’s adjusted gross income is $290,000. Their net investment income is $80,000. The $10,000 gain on the sale of the tool is not included in net investment income because it is trade or business property. The $50,000 of income from the ice cream partnership is net investment income because Fred is a passive investor in that company. As mentioned before, the dividend of $30,000 is also net investment income. Fred and Marcy exceed the $250,000 threshold by $40,000. Since the amount by which they exceed the threshold is less than the amount of net investment income ($80,000), the 3.8% tax is applied to $40,000. Therefore, they will owe an additional tax of $1,520.

The tax on net investment income is just an additional piece of the puzzle to consider when addressing your own personal tax circumstances. There are a number of techniques available that can help to alleviate the impact of the new net investment income tax. Please contact us to schedule a consultation to determine the most beneficial strategy for doing so.

The Affordable Care Act introduced two new taxes designed to raise revenue for Medicare. The net investment income tax is a 3.8% tax calculated based on the amount of a taxpayer’s net investment income, and is the subject of the companion blog post to this one. The other tax, called the Additional Medicare Tax, is a 0.9% surtax on wages, compensation, and self-employment income above certain thresholds based on filing status. The thresholds are:

– $200,000 for single taxpayers
– $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, and
– $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately.

The additional 0.9% tax is relatively straight forward. The tax is imposed on every dollar
of self-employment income and wages that exceeds the threshold. For example, Steve is a single taxpayer who earns $265,000 in wages. He exceeds the threshold by $65,000 and therefore will owe Additional Medicare tax of $585 ($65,000 at 0.9%).
Employers will only be required to withhold the additional tax if an individual taxpayer is going to exceed $200,000 in wages. Employees who earn less than $200,000 but who expect to be subject to the Additional Medicare Tax should request additional withholding to avoid having to pay the tax when they file their return.

If you or your spouse are self employed and either receives wages for which there is no withholding of Additional Medicare Tax, the threshold amount for Additional Medicare Tax on self employment income is reduced by the amount of wages for which no tax was withheld. The regulations explain with the following example. Julie runs a painting company and earns $140,000 of self-employment income. Her husband, Chip, earns $130,000 in wages. Since Chip earns less than $200,000, his employer did not withhold Additional Medicare Tax. Chip’s wages will reduce the threshold amount for the couple from $250,000 to $120,000, and the couple will pay the 0.9% surtax on the $20,000 excess of $140,000 over $120,000.
There are a number of techniques available for minimizing the impact of the new Additional Medicare Tax, particularly with respect to self-employed individuals who operate through an S Corporation. Please contact our office so that we can discuss how to find an optimal solution with respect to this new tax.

The City of Philadelphia recently mailed out Notices of Proposed Valuation for Tax Year 2014. These assessments are based on the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), which was an ambitious overhaul attempt by the City to revalue all properties at fair market value. Property owners in Philadelphia should be receiving notices this week.

While the actual amount of real estate tax that a City of Philadelphia property owner will owe under the new property assessments is to be determined, there is still a way to estimate the amount of tax that might be owed. The AVI Calculator ( will allow you to enter your property’s address, which will reveal the proposed assessment, and then you can adjust the rate and exemption amounts to determine what the 2014 real estate tax may be. The City must still decide on homestead exemption amounts and the ultimate tax rate that will be applied to the assessed values before taxpayers will know their liabilities for certain.

If you are unsatisfied with the proposed market value on your Notice of Proposed Valuation, there is the opportunity for an initial review. If an application is made before March 31, 2013, the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) will do an informal review of your property. The OPA will ask for additional information about your property, and may decrease the valuation. However, the Office may ultimately increase your assessment even if you think the value is lower than initially proposed. If you are still not satisfied with the result after the initial review, then a formal appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) can be filed. The deadline for this appeal is October 7, 2013.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your options regarding your Philadelphia property taxes!

Kerr Law Associates, P.C. will be hosting a webinar on Self-Directed IRA LLCs on January 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

In this webinar, we introduce the concept of using funds in your IRA to invest in an LLC. We will also explain the advantages of this particular method of investing with your IRA, and the step-by-step of how to proceed. Using an IRA LLC contains some pitfalls in the form of prohibited transactions, and we will explain what prohibited transactions are and how they can be avoided. We will also hold a brief question and answer session at the end of the presentation.

Join us by registering here.

As has become customary with Congress, it came down to the wire on New Year’s Eve, but a budget deal has been approved by both the House and Senate. President Obama is expected to sign the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 this week. Below is a brief run through of some of the major points. In short, everyone’s taxes will be going up this year because of increased payroll tax rates, but the majority of the tax increases fall on “wealthy” taxpayers. As you’ll see in the sections below, “wealthy” taxpayers are those who make over $250,000 per year. Individuals earning over $250,000 and married couples earning over $300,000 will be subject to deduction limitations and the Medicare surtax on investment income from Obamacare, while individuals earning over $400,000 and married couples earning over $450,000 will be subject to deduction limitations, tax rate increases, and the Medicare surtax. (more…)