“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.
Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes…
You will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.”
— Barack Obama, running for president, Sept. 12, 2008, Dover, NH and many, many other times on the campaign trail
Unless Congress extends the Bush tax cuts, on January 1, 2011 the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves.
On January 1, here’s what happens:
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011.
Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise.
Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. Here’s the full list of marginal rate hikes:
* The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
* The 25% bracket rises to 28%
* The 28% bracket rises to 31%
* The 33% bracket rises to 36%
* The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes on marriage and family.
The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The
standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.
The return of the Death Tax.
This year only, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1, 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes, a
business, a retirement account, could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.
Think of the farmers who don’t make much money, but their land, which they purchased years ago with after-tax dollars, is now worth a lot of money. Their children will have to sell the farm, which may be their livelihood, just to pay the estate tax if they don’t have the cash sitting around to pay the tax.
Think about your own family’s assets. Maybe your family owns real estate, or a business that doesn’t make much money, but the building and equipment are worth $1 million.
Upon their death, you can inherit the $1 million business tax free, but if they own a home, stock, cash worth $500K on top of the $1 million business, then you will owe the government $275,000 cash! That’s 55% of the value of the assets over $1 million! Do you have that kind of cash sitting around waiting to pay the estate tax?
Higher tax rates on savers and investors.
The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividend tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.
Second Wave: Obamacare
There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:
The “Medicine Cabinet Tax”
Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).
The “Special Needs Kids Tax”
This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of
them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (the National Child Research Center) can
easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under the Obama tax rules, FSA dollars cannot be used to pay for this type of education.
The HSA (Health Savings Account) Withdrawal Tax Hike
This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.
Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and Employer Tax Hikes
When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise — many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:
The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families-rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.
Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can currently expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”
Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses.
There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.
Tax benefits for education and teaching reduced.
The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses.
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut.
Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
Charitable contributions from IRAs no longer allowed.
Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required
minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.
Your insurance will be INCOME on your W2’s
Starting in 2011, your W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given by the company. It does not matter if that’s a
private concern or governmental body. If you are retired your gross will go up by the amount of insurance you get.
You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen. Take your tax form you just finished and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your
tax debt. That’s what you’ll pay next year. This will put many into a new higher bracket, further increasing their taxes.
Source: P25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS – SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS (Sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec. 9002 “requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employees gross income.”
By Joan Pryde, senior tax editor for the Kiplinger letters.
These tax hikes can be stopped if Republicans win on Tues., Nov. 2.
Circle your calendar and call your friends and neighbors on that day to remind them to vote.