Early IRA Withdrawals

Larriva-WEBAs you approach retirement, conventional wisdom is to spend down taxable assets and delay IRA & 401k withdrawals until the Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) begin at age 72. This can be an effective strategy. Yet, in many situations, it may be better to start early IRA withdrawals.

Counter-Intuitive Advice and Early IRA Withdrawals

When does this counter-intuitive strategy make the most sense? It’s relative to your marginal income tax-brackets over a seven- to 10-year period.

For example, a married couple both age 62 can earn up to combined income $106,150 (gross) before the $25,100 standard deduction and still be in only the 12 percent marginal federal tax bracket. If they have $800,000 in IRA/401ks, they can withdrawal some of that money and still be in a low marginal bracket.

If that couple waits until age 72, those retirement assets with 7 percent growth may double to about $1.6 million, and RMDs would start at $62,800 per year. That RMD income along with $57,000 per year for Social Security would put them in a 25 percent marginal tax bracket in the future. (See table.)

Another trap is related to future Medicare premiums (Part B), which typically begin at age 65. The more income you have in retirement, the more you will pay in Medicare premiums. If your adjusted gross income plus municipal bond interest is more than $176,000 for a married couple, then monthly Medicare can increase from about $148 monthly per person up to $505. Paying attention to the nuances in Medicare rules could save a couple up to $8,500 per year.

early IRA withdrawalsDetermining the best time for retirement distributions can be complicated. It’s smart to come up with a plan before you hand in your resignation. Your Perspective advisor will crunch the numbers and help you create the optimal strategy.

By |2021-08-16T13:12:45-07:00September 6th, 2021|Advisors, Health Care, Retirement, Taxes|

Giving Back in 2020

Lupe CamargoEvery day is a good day to give back to the community. In the economic wake of COVID-19, today is an especially good day to give if you’re able. Giving back in 2020 will help non-profits that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Fundraising events have been cancelled or shifted online, creating a loss of expected income. Communities of faith that were forced to halt in-person services experienced a significant drop in giving. Such challenges impact the individuals, communities and causes these organizations serve, many of whom also have been hard hit by this challenging year. It’s a circular problem, and one I’ve seen firsthand as Board Chair of Girl Scouts.

At the same time, those who’ve been able to give have been generous. Charitable giving in many areas has reached historic levels in 2020. During this season of gratitude, we certainly can give thanks for that.

Tax-Wise Charitable Giving

As 2020 draws to a close and you consider your charitable giving options, here are a few things you should know:

  • The Corona-virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created additional incentives to give this year. It allows 100 percent of itemized donations to go toward adjusted gross income versus the typical 60 percent. CARES also allows an above-the-line deduction for donations up to $300 (in addition to the standard deduction for non-itemizers).
  • You can “bunch” donations into one year. That means itemizing 2020 taxes and taking the standard deduction in 2021. Your income, tax-filing status and donation amount are variables to consider with this approach. A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) can be useful for bunching donations; DAF contributions can be made in one year and distributed to charities over several years.
  • Those age 70 ½ years and older can deduct up to $100,000 per year tax-free from their IRAs through a Qualified Charitable Distribution, which presents an opportunity to reduce future taxable income and limit beneficiary tax liability.
  • If you decide to do a Roth Conversion, the additional tax liability could be offset with a charitable contribution.

If you’d like to further explore and plan tax-smart giving to increase the impact of your gifts, call or email your advisor.

By |2020-11-16T15:55:30-07:00November 18th, 2020|Charitable Giving, Current Affairs, Taxes|

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Retirement Savings Legislation 2020

Retirement Savings Legislation SECURE Act 2020The broadest piece of U.S. retirement legislation since the 2006 Pension Protection Act took effect January 1, 2020. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December. The most immediate impact of this new retirement savings legislation will be felt by those nearing or in retirement.

RMD Age Increase

Prior to SECURE, retirees were required to start withdrawals at age 70½ years from traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s. For those who haven’t reached 70½ by the end of 2019, the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) now  must begin at age 72. That means 18 more months to grow investments before taking distributions and paying taxes.

The change also provides two additional years for Roth IRA conversions without having to worry about the impact of RMDs. Unlike a traditional IRA, Roth withdrawals are tax-free as long as you meet certain requirements and there are no RMDs during your lifetime. The general goal of a Roth conversion is to move taxable money from an IRA into a Roth at lower tax rates today than you expect to pay in the future.

Estate Planning Snag

A drawback of SECURE is removal of so-called “stretch” and “pass-through” provisions for retirement accounts beneficiaries. Formerly, if an IRA or 401(k) was left to a non-spouse or trust, the beneficiary could typically stretch out the tax benefits of the account over an extended period. With the new retirement savings legislation , however, beneficiaries will have to distribute the entire inherited account within 10 years after the owner’s death (there are a few exemptions).

Accelerated distributions mean more taxable income at potentially-higher rates. Such income may also affect means-tested Medicare premiums and Medicaid benefits of low-income retirees or individuals with special needs.

We encourage you to talk with your financial planner about reviewing your retirement accounts and estate plans to ensure they still align with your goals and that you’re taking full advantage of the new opportunities.

By |2020-01-17T09:47:35-07:00February 10th, 2020|Estate Planning, Retirement, Taxes|

Secondary Education Tax Credits

In the past, I’ve written about Arizona tax credits that support local schools and nonprofits. Such credits enable you to make charitable donations using money you would otherwise pay in Arizona income taxes. But did you know there are also a number of federal income tax credits that benefit you directly with a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill? That means a tax credit valued at $1,000 actually lowers your tax bill by $1,000. Here are details about two secondary education tax credits that are especially advantageous.

American Opportunity Credit

This allows you to claim the first $2,000 you spend on undergraduate expenses for tuition, books, equipment and fees. It also lets you claim 25 percent of the next $2,000 of expenses (for a total of $2,500). Parents can claim the credit if they paid for the student’s education expenses and that student is listed as a dependent on their tax return. Otherwise, the student can claim it. Full or reduced credit is given if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) was less than $80,000 or $90,000, respectively ($160,000 and $180,000 for joint filers).

This credit is especially valuable for students because it’s refundable. That means you can still receive 40 percent of its value (up to $1,000) and receive a tax refund even if you earned no income in 2019 and owe no income taxes. Because this credit is available for a maximum of four years, the largest benefit will be years when there are $2,000-to-$4,000 of expenses.

Lifetime Learning Credit

This is ideal for graduate students or anyone taking classes to develop new skills, even if you already claimed the American Opportunity Credit in the past. It’s available to undergraduate, graduate and non-degree or vocational students; and there’s no limit on the number of years it can be claimed.

Students can claim 20 percent of money paid toward tuition, fees, books and supplies needed for coursework, up to $2,000. The credit has a lower MAGI threshold ($67,000 for individuals, $134,000 if filing jointly) and is not refundable.

Read www.irs.gov/credits-deductions-for-individuals to learn more, or talk with your tax advisor about whether you qualify for these or other beneficial tax credits.

By |2019-11-20T08:34:42-07:00November 25th, 2019|Financial Planning, Taxes|