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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Posts Tagged ‘Health care’

An unconventional retirement planning tool

Posted by William Byrnes on June 30, 2014


When it comes to retirement income planning for most clients, less is not more, and the contribution limits placed on traditional tax-preferred retirement vehicles have many of these clients searching for creative ways to ensure a comfortable retirement income level. Enter the health savings account (HSA), which, though traditionally intended to function as a savings account earmarked for medical expenses, can actually function as a powerful retirement income planning vehicle for clients looking to supplement their retirement savings.

For the strategy to work, however, it is important that your clients understand the rules of the game, and the potential penalties that can derail the substantial tax benefits that an HSA can offer.

The HSA income strategy …

Read William Byrnes & Robert Bloink’s analysis of an unconventional retirement planning tool on LifeHealthPro

 

If you are interested in discussing the Master or Doctoral degree in the areas of international taxation or anti money laundering compliance, please contact me profbyrnes@gmail.com to Google Hangout or Skype that I may take you on an “online tour”

 

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An postretirement healthcare strategy overlooked

Posted by William Byrnes on June 4, 2014


Funding postretirement medical expenses in today’s marketplace is no small task, especially for the early retiree who has yet to qualify for Medicare coverage and may be reliant on an exchange-purchased health plan with a high deductible. VEBAs and other similarly complex structures have existed for years to help to provide additional funding, but options have evolved so that clients now have more practical and accessible solutions.

Read about “the rollover strategy

 

If you are interested in discussing the Master or Doctoral degree in the areas of financial services or international taxation, please contact me: profbyrnes@gmail.com to Google Hangout or Skype that I may take you on an “online tour” 

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Today is the deadline to sign up for health care (or face penalties)

Posted by William Byrnes on March 31, 2014


In Health Care Tax Tip 2014-11 the IRS reminds taxpayers that today, March 31, is the deadline to sign up for health care for 2014 – or face penalties.

Below are five tips about the Obama Care (ACA) health care law that the IRS wants taxpayers to consider.

• Currently Insured – No Change: If a taxpayer is already insured, do not need to do anything more than continue that insurance.

• Uninsured – Enroll by Today – March 31: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014 runs through March 31, 2014. When a taxpayer chooses health insurance through the marketplace, the taxpayer may be able to receive advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower the monthly premium.

• Premium Tax Credit To Lower the Monthly Premium: If a taxpayer chooses insurance through the Marketplace, the taxpayer may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit. The taxpayer may elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to the insurance company during 2014 so that the monthly premium the taxpayer must pay is lower, or the taxpayer can wait to claim the credit when filing the tax return in 2015.  If a taxpayer chooses to have advance payments sent to the insurance company, then the taxpayer must reconcile the payments on the 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015.

• Change in Circumstances: If a taxpayer receives advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for the insurance coverage, then the taxpayer must report “life changes”, such as income, marital status or family size changes, to the Marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure the taxpayer has the right coverage and is getting the proper amount of advance payments of the premium tax credit.

• Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, taxpayers and the family must have health care coverage or have an exemption from coverage.  Most people already have qualifying health care coverage.  These individuals will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014.  If a taxpayer can afford coverage but decides not to buy it and remain uninsured throughout the year, that taxpayer may have to make an “individual shared responsibility payment” (a.k.a. the ACA penalty) when filing a 2014 tax return in 2015.

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IRS Reminds Individuals of Health Care Choices for 2014

Posted by William Byrnes on March 28, 2014


In Issue Number HC-TT- 2014-01, the IRS released reminders for Individuals about the 2014 Health Care Choices.  In 3 days, on March 31, the Heath Care Market Exchange enrollment period will close.

Starting in 2014, each person must choose to either have basic health insurance coverage (known as minimum essential coverage) for everyone in the family for each month or go without health care coverage for some or all of the year.

If a person don’t maintain health insurance coverage, then that person will need to either seek an exemption or pay a penalty (called an “individual shared responsibility payment”) with the 2014 income tax return filed in 2015. 

What Qualifies as Health Insurance to Avoid the Penalty?

Qualifying coverage includes:

  • health insurance coverage provided by your employer (including COBRA and retiree coverage),
  • health insurance coverage purchase through a health care exchange Marketplace,
  • Medicare, Medicaid or other government-sponsored health coverage including programs for veterans, or
  • coverage you buy directly from an insurance company.

Qualifying coverage does not include certain coverage that may provide limited benefits, such as coverage only for vision care or dental care, workers’ compensation, or coverage only for a specific disease or condition. 

Premium Tax Credit May Help Pay for Health Insurance

If purchasing health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, the person may be eligible for financial assistance including the premium tax credit, which will help lower the out-of-pocket cost of your monthly insurance premiums (see yesterday’s blog article).

Exemptions

If a person chooses to go without coverage or experiences a gap in coverage, the person may still qualify for an exemption based upon (1) not having access to affordable coverage, (2) the gap is less than three consecutive months without coverage, or (3) qualifying for one of several other exemptions.  A special hardship exemption applies to individuals who purchase their insurance through the Marketplace during the initial enrollment period but due to the enrollment process have a coverage gap at the beginning of 2014.

Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance

If a person (or any of dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, then the person will owe a penalty, called a “individual shared responsibility payment”, paid when filing the tax return in 2015.  In general, the payment amount is either a percentage of household income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater.

The person will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt. The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:

  • 1 percent of household income that is above the tax return filing threshold for the filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
  • A family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.

The penalty is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014.

For more than half a century, Tax Facts has been an essential resource designed to meet the real-world tax-guidance needs of professionals in both the insurance and investment industries.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

tax-facts-online_mediumThe company also points out that the expert authors—Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.

The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

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What do I need to know about the Health Care Law for my 2013 Tax Return?

Posted by William Byrnes on March 23, 2014


The IRS stated in Health Care Tax Tip 2014-10 that for most taxpayers, the Affordable Care Act has no effect on the 2013 federal income tax return. For example, for the 2013 tax return a taxpayer does not yet report health care coverage under the individual shared responsibility provision or claim the premium tax credit.  Reporting of these items start with the filing of the 2014 tax return (which will only happen between late January and April 15, 2015).

However, the IRS alerted that some taxpayers people will be affected by a few provisions, including two new medical taxes and a reduction in the ability to take a deduction for medical expenses incurred during 2013.  See (1) increases in the itemized medical deduction threshold, (2) additional Medicare tax and (3) net investment income tax.

The IRS reminded taxpayers that the employer’s reporting of a taxpayer’s value of health care coverage is not taxable (the new box 12 employer health care reporting requirement, identified by Code DD on an employee’s Form W-2) . 

Information available about other tax provisions in the health care law: More information is available regarding the following tax provisions: Premium Rebate for Medical Loss RatioHealth Flexible Spending Arrangements, and Health Saving Accounts.

tax-facts-online_medium

Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.  The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Rick Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

 

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IRS Offers Obama Care Tax Tips for 2013 and 2014

Posted by William Byrnes on March 11, 2014


The IRS has set up a webpage >Health Care Tax Tips< to help people understand what they need to know for the 2013 federal individual income tax returns they are filing by April 15th, as well as for future tax returns. This includes information on the new Premium Tax Credit and making health care coverage choices.

Because many of the new Obama Care tax rules only went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, most of these Obama Care changes do not affect the 2013 tax return.

What do I need to know for my 2013 tax return?

Considerations for 2014 tax year?

  • Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014 began Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
  • Premium Tax Credit: If you get insurance through the Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit. You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015. If you’re already receiving advance payments of the credit, you need do nothing at this time unless you have a change in circumstance. Learn More.
  • Change in Circumstances: If you’re receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report life changes, such as income, marital status or family size changes, to your marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure you are getting the proper amount of advance payments.
  • Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, you and your family must have health care coverage, have an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015. Most people already have qualifying health care coverage and will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014. Learn More.

The Health Care Tax Tips available at >IRS ACA website< include:

  • IRS Reminds Individuals of Health Care Choices for 2014 ─ Find out what you need to know about how health care choices you make for 2014 may affect your taxes.
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace – Learn about Your Health Insurance Coverage Options – Find out about getting health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • The Premium Tax Credit ─ Learn the basics of the Premium Tax Credit, including who might be eligible and how to get the credit.
  • The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – An Overview ─ Provides information about types of qualifying coverage, exemptions from having coverage, and making a payment if you do not have qualifying coverage or an exemption.
  • Three Timely Tips about Taxes and the Health Care Law ─  Provides tips that help with filing the 2013 tax return, including information about employment status, tax favored health plans and itemized deductions.
  • Four Tax Facts about the Health Care Law for Individuals ─Offers basic tips to help people determine if the Affordable Care Act affects them and their families, and where to find more information.
  • Changes in Circumstances can Affect your Premium Tax Credit ─ Learn the importance of reporting any changes in circumstances that involve family size or income when advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit are involved.

For more than half a century, Tax Facts has been an essential resource designed to meet the real-world tax-guidance needs of professionals in both the insurance and investment industries.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

tax-facts-online_mediumThe company also points out that the expert authors—Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.

The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Income-based premiums triple Medicare costs under PPACA

Posted by William Byrnes on July 31, 2013


For your high net worth and upper middle class clients, Medicare planning has become a critical component of a well-executed retirement income plan.

New rules put into effect under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) can impact these clients’ retirement income planning in ways they might not yet realize by increasing their Medicare premiums proportionally as income increases.  The new rules will expand the pool of clients to which these monthly increases will apply.

In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to consider Medicare premiums when planning for retirement expenses.

Medicare Income-Based Premiums … read my analysis at LifeHealthPro – http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/05/13/income-based-premiums-triple-medicare-costs-under

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The Changing World of Health Insurance: MLR’s Slam Commissions

Posted by William Byrnes on August 31, 2011


Increased medical loss ratios (MLRs) are devastating health insurance producers’ balance sheets and driving agents out of the health insurance business. As of  January, the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act increased the MLR requirement imposed on health insurance companies, forcing many carriers to reduce agent commissions by 25 percent or more.

The objective behind imposing MLRs is to ensure that consumers receive the full value of their premium dollars. This is accomplished by implementing a shift in how insurance carriers spend their money. Insurance carries are now required to spend premium dollars on direct medical services, rather than on administrative costs and profits. Under the new MLR program, insurers must spend 80 to 85 cents of every dollar on direct medical services. Insurers who fail to meet the MLR requirement must either adjust their premiums to account for any discrepancies, or refund excess premiums to consumers.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of health care reform in Advisor’s Journal, see Long-term Care Insurance Reform Act of 2010 (CC 10-46), Changes Affecting Large Employers in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-17), Changes Affecting Business in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-16), & Changes Affecting Individuals in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-15).

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Study Exposes Impact of Health Care Act’s Employer Penalties

Posted by William Byrnes on March 4, 2011


The Congressional Research Service last week released a publication describing the employer healthcare mandate and penalties for large employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.  Although penalties under the Health Care Act will not be applicable until 2014, the Act brings about a sea of change in the employer’ role in employee health insurance that requires significant present preparation.

Contrary to popular miscomprehensions about the Act, it does not mandate that employers provide their employees with health insurance; however, the Act does incentivize large employers to do so by penalizing them if their employees are not covered to a minimum level by employer-provided health insurance.  Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

 

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Health Insurance Coverage for All Americans

Posted by William Byrnes on January 28, 2011


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 are generally known as the national health care legislation.  The new laws created a number of changes in the health care insurance system, in general.  These changes will be discussed throughout the week, as presented below.

Under the new law, each individual is required to have “minimum essential coverage” for each month of the year starting in 2014. “Minimum essential coverage” means whichever; a government sponsored program such as Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE; an employer sponsored plan; plans in the individual market; and grandfathered health care plans.

For those individuals who choose not to obtain minimum essential coverage, imposed is a penalty to be included in the taxpayer’s annual return.  The penalty applies to each month where the individual is not covered equal to an amount of either 1/12 of the average cost of “bronze” level coverage or the greater of an annual set dollar amount, which is pegged at $695 for taxable years 2016 and beyond, or a set percentage of the taxpayer’s household income, currently 2.5 percent beginning after 2016. (The Legislation includes a phase in schedule for both the flat dollar amount and the percentage of income. The flat dollar amount is $95 for 2014, $325 for 2015. The percentage of household income is 1 percent for 2014 and 2 percent for 2015.)  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI

 

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The Small Business Tax Credit

Posted by William Byrnes on January 26, 2011


During 2010, President Obama realized his goal of providing health care coverage to all Americans when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Under the new health care legislation many new changes will affect taxpayers beginning last year.  This week’s blogticles are dedicated to the discussion of the health care legislation and the impact it is projected to have.  We begin with a discussion of the Small Business Tax Credit.

Under the new law, the Small Business Tax Credit allows qualified small employers to elect, beginning in 2010 a tax credit for some percentage of their employee health care coverage expenses.  Generally, a “qualified small employer” is an employer who has the equivalent of 25 full-time workers or less (e.g., a firm with fewer than 50 half-time workers would be eligible), pay average annual wages below $50,000, and cover at least 50 percent of the cost of health care coverage for their workers.

Further, the tax credit will cover up to 35 percent of the premiums a small business pays to cover its workers until 2014, when the rate will increase to 50 percent.  Nevertheless, the credit has phase out provisions which gradually reduce the credit amount for businesses with average wages between $25,000 and $50,000 and for businesses with the equivalent of between 10 and 25 full-time workers.  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI.

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The National Health Care Bill Invoice

Posted by William Byrnes on January 4, 2011


Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Image via Wikipedia

Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Reviews the National Health Care Legislation’s revenues and expense provisions.  Discusses one area in particular where high income earners are subject to additional tax liability provided by the new law.

There are many new questions being raised by the national health care legislation that was passed into law earlier this year.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[1] and the, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010,[2] created a number of significant changes to the landscape of the health care system in the United States.  The total cost of the program, is estimated at approximately $356 Billion dollars over the ten year period from 2010-2019. [3]However, revenue projections from taxes incorporated into the legislation are actually estimated upwards of $437 Billion dollars over that same ten year period. [4]

Now that we can reasonably be assured the health care bill’s cost is properly allocated and encumbered, let’s see how and where the revenue generating provisions will affect American taxpayers.

The largest single line item that will contribute to the funding of the health care legislation is a new surtax for Medicare.  Estimates that over $200 billion will be raised over 10 years, is a burden carried by only a small percentage of high income taxpayers, estimated at approximately the top 2% of all taxpayers, or those taxpayers who will earn more than $200,000 or $250,000 filing jointly. [5] This means approximately 98% of the population will not be required to contribute to the new surtax with regards to Medicare.  To read this article excerpted above, please access www.AdvisorFYI.com

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Health Care Reform Causes an Avalanche of 1099s

Posted by William Byrnes on November 11, 2010


Seal of the Internal Revenue Service

Image via Wikipedia

The Health Care Act includes many provisions that are not directly related to health care but which are intended to fund the colossal government expenditure necessitated by the Act. One of the most burdensome changes imposed by the Health Care Act is the massive expansion of the payees and payment types that require a 1099. The new requirements will trigger a flood of paperwork for everyone involved, including payors, payees, and the IRS.

The new information reporting requirement will kick in on January 1, 2012. But the IRS will not be releasing guidance on the changes right away, so the time for taxpayers to implement the new requirements may run short. The comment period preceding the IRS’s release of proposed regulations passed at the end of September, so we can expect proposed regulations in the coming months. Advisor’s Journal will keep you informed as the IRS implements these new rules.   Read this complete article at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of the Health Care Act in Advisor’s Journal, see Changes Affecting Individuals in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-15), Changes Affecting Business in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-16), and Changes Affecting Large Employers in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-17).

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