2015 Tax Changes That Change The Bottom Line

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BusinessTax_AA number of tax changes have occurred during 2015 that impact your personal and business taxes. So if you own such assets as a business, real estate or investments, it is recommended that you hire an accountant to maximize your savings. A certified public accountant (CPA) will help you identify the changes in tax policy that occur annually. The software they use typically has the latest tax regulations and codes. Further, a savvy tax preparer can usually find deductions you would normally not be aware of. 

This year the tax filing deadline for income taxes will be Monday, April 18. Friday, April 15, is a legal holiday in the Washington, D.C.—Emancipation Day is observed—giving you the weekend to file last minute returns. Here are two major changes to be aware of:

Changes To Social Security

There were huge changes made to Social Security benefits that were contained in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that was signed into law. It changes the options for how and when recipients file for Social Security. These changes will take effect May 1, 2016. If you are going to turn 62 or 66 before April 30, 2016, you may need to make some important decisions. One of the two big changes is the ability to file for and then suspend your Social Security benefits in order to enable your spouse and/or children to collect benefits while you let yours accumulate. The other change has to do with the choice of taking spousal benefits or your own benefits. For detailed information on these changes go to www.ssa.gov.

Health Insurance Requirement

All United States residents are required to have health insurance providing minimal essential coverage. If you don’t, there will be a penalty imposed. In 2015 the penalty is set to increase to the greater of 2 percent of your income or $325 per household member. In 2016, it is set to be the greater of 2.5 percent of your income or $695 per household member. After that it will adjust based on inflation. The penalty is capped to be no higher than the cost of the lowest bronze level plan on the Affordable Care Act Health Benefit Exchange. For 2015 that is $308.15 per month per household member for New York residents (also capped at five household members).

If you have a business with less than 50 full-time (or equivalent) employees, then you are not required to provide insurance. Businesses with 50 or more employees will be penalized if they don’t provide insurance to their employees.

If your family income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you may be entitled to subsidies for your health insurance. The only way to get the subsidies is if your insurance was obtained on the Exchange. They do not apply if you obtain insurance privately.

If you did get insurance on the Exchange and a subsidy was provided, that subsidy was based on estimated income. If too much of a subsidy was granted, additional payments must be made to the IRS. If too little was assessed, a credit will be taken on the tax return which could result in a refund or a reduced balance due.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and writer of the Business Quarterly column, special features and Manhasset Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, Elizabeth is well-versed in the local aspects of her community and Long Island. Her community involvement in the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations make her knowledgeable about the area she covers. Her travels, love of the arts and local sporting events give her the inside view to unique content. In her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI.

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