Lately we have heard a lot of rumors circulating around making statements about the approaching additions to Medicare Taxes. These tax increases are supposed finance the cost of Health Care Reform. To set the record straight these are some of the issues we think clients should know about.
Rumor: Every American will experience a .9% rise in their Medicare tax starting in 2013
The truth: The employer’s share of Medicare is not changed. The tax stays constant at 1.45%. The employee’s 1.45% share of Medicare taxes may go up .9%. The additional tax for employees starts when compensation is more than $200,000 ($250,000 if married).
Rumor: Gains on the sale of your primary residence owe an additional 3.8% in Medicare Taxes.
The truth: There is an additional 3.8% Medicare tax on earnings from investments when modified gross income is higher than $200,000 ($250,000 if married) starting in 2013. Earnings on investments includes, rent, dividends, capital gains, royalties, and interest. When you sell your primary residence at a gain, the 3.8% Medicare tax may apply only to the taxable portion of the gain. To calculate the gain from the primary residence, add up all of the costs to acquire and improve the home. Then add the fees to sell the home to the purchase price. The fees to sell the house would include real estate broker and filing fees. That will calculate the gain on the sales of the residence. The third step is to apply the home sale gain exclusion to the transaction ($250,000 single or $500,000 married). Should there still be a taxable gain after the home sale exclusion, this gain maybe subject to the Medicare tax increase.
Rumor: Sell your business in 2012 since 4.7% of the business sale will be a Medicare Tax.
The truth: This is partially untrue. The law provides a literal prohibition to the supplementary 3.8% Medicare tax on gains from on the sales assets used in your business. Although, part of the sale maybe considered ordinary income, due to depreciation recapture. This ordinary income may activate the .9% Medicare tax. This extra income may cause you to be subject the additional tax on investment income mentioned above.
Rumor: There is a huge marriage penalty regarding Medicare taxes.
The truth: This Rumor is true. This legislation creates a higher tax burden for married couples. Two singles are exempt from the tax on income up to $400,000 ($200,000 each). Married couples are responsible for this tax when “aggregate” income exceeds $250,000.
We hope this clarifies some of the rumors that have been floating around. The preceding information is not intended to replace the services of a professional. Consult a CPA or an Attorney who can better understand your particular circumstances. Please contact us.