The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013 – The Fiscal Cliff Averted

In an unusual act, Congress convened and passed a big time piece of legislation on a major holiday – New Year’s Day.

The bill, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013,  prevents the country from slipping off of the so-called fiscal cliff and it seems to have worked–at least temporarily.  Instead of collapsing on the first trading day of the new year, the financial markets had a strong rally on news of the passage of even an imperfect bill.

What Just Happened with Congress and the Fiscal Cliff?

The fiscal cliff negotiations were originally expected to include tax issues, spending, deficit reduction and even a hint of real tax reform.  Nothing that dramatic came about, but here are some highlights of what has been delivered:

  • Most Bush-era tax cuts have been made permanent
  • Jobless unemployed insurance benefits for 2 million long-term unemployed were extended for a full year
  • A Medicare reimbursement cut of 27% has been prevented
  • The top tax rate has been increased from 35% to 39.6% for individuals earning over $400,000 and couples earning over $450,000
  • Taxes on high income taxpayers will also increase on income from capital gains and dividends as well as inherited estates
  • Blocked a provision that would have made millions of middle class taxpayers subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

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The Fiscal Cliff Doesn’t Just Affect the Rich

falling off fiscal cliff

Though the election is long over, the debate over whether or not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts continues.

This is the so-called “fiscal cliff” that’s all over the media right now.

On the surface, this sometimes seems like a debate over taxes in general, and specifically on higher taxes for the rich.

But don’t bet on it – the fiscal cliff doesn’t just affect the rich – it has the middle class squarely in its crosshairs.

A series of tax increases will begin on January 1, 2013, if Congress does not take action to restore at least some of the Bush-era cuts.

And they’ll be substantial.

Not only will the tax cuts reach deep into the wallets of everyone who has a paycheck, but the fallout from the changes will have wide effects on the overall ecomomy too.

How the Fiscal Cliff Will Affect More Than the Rich

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New Taxes Coming for a New Year

Each year, the tax laws change.  New taxes are levied, and some taxes are cut.

For 2013, you are likely to see some new taxes as old tax cuts expire and as new taxes are imposed.  The new year is likely to bring with it new impacts on your budget.

While there is no saying, for sure, what will happen (what with budget talks underway, and negotiations attempting to avoid the fiscal cliff), here’s what’s possible so far:

New Taxes You Can and Will See Next Year

Payroll Taxes Going Up

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Are You Ready to Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff? What You Need to Know if the Bush Tax Cuts Expire

falling_off_cliff

The times they are a changin’ for taxes in the United States if legislation doesn’t change things soon.  Most americans are unaware of their taxes will be reshaped by the impending “fiscal cliff.”

The phrase that is being tossed around in the media is “falling off the fiscal cliff” or “taxmageddon”, and both are fairly accurate as to the repercussions.

Understanding exactly what is going to happen if we fall of the fiscal cliff is critical to your personal finances for 2013, so we’re going to break down some of the big points for you.

Repercussions of Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff

This list is pretty terrifying unless you enjoy paying higher taxes.

Expiration of Payroll Tax Cut

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How the IRS Decides Whether You Have a Business or a Hobby

As the end of the year approaches, and tax season rears its head, it’s important to start figuring out what deductions and credits you are eligible for.

Many consumers are excited to learn that they can take deductions for hobbies as well as for businesses.

However, what is allowed when it comes to these tax deductions depends a great deal on whether the IRS thinks you have a legitimate business, or whether what you are doing is really a hobby.

Tax Deductions: Business vs. Hobby

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Is the Curtain Finally Coming Down on the Payroll Tax Cut?

In what seems like an annual rite in Washington, DC, the extension of the social security payroll tax cut—a.k.a., the “payroll tax cut”—is once again up for debate.

The cut was first implemented in 2010 under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  It provided for a 2% reduction in the employee portion of the social security payroll tax, from 6.2% to 4.2%.

The cut was set to expire at the end of 2011, but was extended to the end of February, 2012, and then ultimately through the end of the year.

But this year it’s looking like an another extension of the cut may not happen.

No political consensus to extend the payroll tax cut

With the presidential election and the prospect of a lame duck Congress looming there is little debate on the Payroll Tax Cut extension.  Concern is also centering on the still large federal budget deficits which will be partially reduced through the expiration of the payroll tax cut.  If anyone has serious intentions of extending the cut they’re laying low right now.

Very low.

If things stay as they are on January 1st, 2013 the Payroll Tax Cut will expire.

Why the payroll tax cut is a true middle class tax cut

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What is Social Security Tax?

When you get your first paycheck from a new job you might be surprised to see how many different deductions reduced your earnings.

You’ll see deductions for Federal income tax, state income tax if your state charges it, and a whole host of acronyms of other taxes.

One of those taxes is social security tax.

We’ve all heard of it, but what exactly is Social Security tax?

What is Social Security Tax?

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