In our previous post, we outlined the basics for those individuals who are subject to the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) for 2013. In summary, portfolio and passive income are two categories of income subject to the NIIT. It would then seem intuitive that to avoid this additional surtax of 3.8% on net investment income, you would simply need to have income derived from a business, since income derived from a business is neither passive nor portfolio. Unfortunately, there is a key phrase in the Internal Revenue Code which states that income must be earned in an “active” trade or business in order not to be subject to the additional surtax.
In addition to the various tax increases enacted on January 1st of this year as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (which averted the so-called fiscal cliff), taxpayers should note one other tax change for 2013: the 3.8% tax on net investment income. While it was actually put in place way back in 2010 as part of the health-care law, it went into effect for this year and will apply to individual returns due April 15, 2014.
Specifically, this is a 3.8% tax on the lesser of a taxpayer’s net investment income for the year or the excess of his/her modified adjusted gross income (AGI) at the following thresholds:
If your adjusted gross income does not exceed those limits, the net investment income tax will not apply to you.
As a result of the 16-day government shutdown, the IRS is already predicting a delayed start to the 2014 filing season. Citing a need to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems, the IRS is anticipating a delay ranging from one to two weeks. If that expectation stands, taxpayers will be able to begin filing their 2013 tax returns no earlier than January 28th, and no later than February 4th.
The IRS has released a change to flexible spending accounts (FSAs) under cafeteria plans which addresses the “Use-or-Lose” provision. Essentially, an employer can amend their cafeteria plan to allow participants/employees to rollover up to $500 of unused funds to the following year to reimburse out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses. Treasury estimates that nearly 14 million families participate in these plans, which means that a large base of taxpayers is impacted by the change.
UPDATE: With the end of the government shutdown, the IRS has resumed operations and is processing tax returns received since 10/1, as well as refunds. They have begun to respond to correspondence and requests, but do expect initial delays, as well as high call volumes. For additional information on the transition and any associated delays, visit the IRS website.
With the government shut down, IRS operations are limited; according to its contingency plan, the IRS will only keep about 9% of employees on the job. So, what does this mean for you, the taxpayer?