The implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues to move forward. Failing to adjust withholding strategies and medical expenditures may result in added tax liability. What do the increased cost of healthcare and decreased deductions mean for you and your family? Here are some of the most significant changes to tax laws under the Affordable Care Act.
Higher Taxes on Investment Income
If you derive a significant percentage of your income from investments, you can expect somewhat higher taxes for the 2013 fiscal year. This typically applies to individuals who earn more than $200,000 and married couples who make over $250,000 jointly. Most other investors and taxpayers will see little or no change in the rate of taxation for their income-producing investments.
Upper Income Brackets Will See Medicare Tax Increases
Payroll taxes are often overlooked by individuals when considering their overall tax liability. Since these taxes are taken out of paychecks before workers receive them, changes in these rates can easily go unnoticed. However, couples who earn more than $250,000 jointly may get an unpleasant surprise at tax time: An increase in Medicare hospital taxes of nearly one percent may not be withheld by employers who are unaware of the joint income levels of the married couple. High-earning married couples may be responsible for any amount due that is not withheld as payroll taxes.
Reduced Deduction Percentages for Medical Expenses
Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, individuals could deduct their medical expenses if those expenses reached 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. That figure has now risen to 10 percent, reducing the availability of these deductions for rich and poor alike.
Changes to Flexible Spending Accounts
For 2013, only the first $2,500 deposited into flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will be tax-free. All other deposits will be liable to the regular tax rates applied to other earned income. As a result, many firms are now implementing limits of $2,500 on FSAs to eliminate the need for specialized W-2 forms and to protect their employees against potential financial liabilities when tax time rolls around once more.
New Taxes on Durable Medical Goods and Devices
The Affordable Care Act requires a new excise tax on medical devices including braces, gloves, pacemakers, nebulizers and many other items of medical equipment. While this new tax will not affect patients directly, it is likely to increase the costs of these items and may shift a greater percentage of the financial burden for advanced systems to the private individual as medical supply companies adjust their rates to make up for these added costs.
What You Can Do
Making the necessary changes to withholding, FSA contributions and other healthcare-related activities can help consumers manage the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act and can provide an added level of defense against increased taxes and reduced services in the medical arena. Make sure you consult with experienced and qualified tax experts who can advise you on the latest tax-related changes and help you navigate them.