While most tax rules and tax rates apply equally to all taxpayers, there are some tax law provisions that are particularly senior tax issues because seniors are the ones most affected. Below are a few senior tax issues and an offer to get a more comprehensive booklet if interested. Some minor tax planning in retirement can result in big saving as you shall see.
Immediate Annuities Help Retirees Reduce Tax
Immediate annuities pay a monthly income and few people below age 60 buy immediate annuities as younger people usually derive their income from working, not from investments. The senior tax issue here is the exclusion ratio. For every immediate annuity payment, a significant portion is not subject to tax. This exclusion ratio means that from each payment, a retiree has more spendable income than from alternate investments.
Immediate or Deferred Annuities can reduce the senior tax on social security income
Since people age 62 and over pay tax on social security income, we can refer to this as a senior tax. The ways to reduce income tax on your social security income is by moving money from items that increase the income tax on your social security income negatively (CDs, bonds, tax free bonds, savings bonds) to deferred annuities or immediate annuities. Since none of the reinvested interest from a deferred annuity appears on your tax return, the income on your tax return is lower and thus, this will reduce or eliminate tax on your social security income. This senior tax is also impacted favorably by the ownership of immediate annuities because a large portion of the monthly payments are excluded from reporting on your tax return making immediate annuities a superb source of supplemental retirement income.
Slow down IRA distributions
Since only people that have reached age 70 1/2 must take IRA distributions, the taxation of these withdrawals is certainly a senior tax issue. Some retirees may be taking more than the IRA required mandatory distribution. Even if you need the income for living expenses, you will lower your tax by reducing your IRA withdrawals to the IRS required minimum and spending principal from your non-IRA assets to live on. Although the spending of principal is taboo for many retirees, there is no difference between principal and income. It's all green money and this recommendation will reduce the senior tax on your IRA. This dovetails with our next senior tax issue.
Spend your regular money first
The order in which you spend your different pots of money in retirement affects your taxes. As hinted above, if you take $1 from your IRA, you only have say 70 cents to spend because you must pay income tax on the IRA withdrawals. However, if you withdraw a dollar form your savings account, whether its interest or principal, this money has already been taxed and you have a full dollar to spend. So an important general senior tax recommendation is to use up your after-tax dollars before using your pre-tax dollars.
Long Term Care Insurance
Last, consider that the federal government will subsidize your cost for long term care insurance. Since the average buyer of long term care is age 62 and the government allows a larger deduction based on higher age, this is specifically a senior tax issue. Although not many people qualify, to the extent your out of pocket medical expenses and health insurance premiums exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct that excess as an itemized deduction on your tax return. If you pay a long term care premium, that can be added to your out of pocket health expenses thereby making it potentially deductible. You can read more details on utilizing these senior tax benefits in the booklet below. Click on the booklet and get your free copy.
You Pay More Taxes Than NecessaryAnd we guarantee your CPA has never told you The problem with paying taxes is that most people overpay. So if you are concerned about having enough in retirement, you must stop overpaying taxes. I know you think your CPA takes care of this for you. WRONG. I AM a CPA (retired) and I can tell you that 90% of CPAs do nothing more than enter your information into the little boxes on the tax return but NEVER tell you how to pay less next year. Why? Many of them simply do not know what we can show you. In ten minutes.
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