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Tax aspects of health care law

The new health care law includes sweeping changes for both employers and individuals. Following is a brief summary of several key tax-related provisions.
Coverage for individuals: After 2013, any individual not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid must obtain minimum essential coverage or pay a nondeductible penalty based on a flat dollar amount or a percentage of household income. The new law also provides coverage subsidies to qualified lower-income individuals through premium assistance tax credits and reduced cost-sharing.
Employer requirements: Beginning in 2014, an employer failing to offer minimum essential coverage in any month for an eligible full-time employee will be liable for an additional tax. The tax equals 1/12th of $2,000 times the number of all full-time employees. This penalty applies to employers with 50 or more workers, but the first 30 workers are subtracted from the calculation.
Small businesses: Beginning in 2010, a qualified small business may use a special tax credit to offset employer-provided coverage. A “small business” is generally one with no more than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 per employee. A bigger credit is available to employers with no more than 10 employees and average annual wages of less than $25,000.
Medicare taxes: Beginning in 2013, an additional 0.9% Medicare tax is imposed on wages of unmarried individuals with earned income above $200,000 and $250,000 for married joint filers; and an additional 3.8% Medicare tax applies to “net investment income” received by unmarried individuals with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) above $200,000 and $250,000 for joint filers.
Tax on health insurance plans: Beginning in 2118, insurers will have to pay a 40% excise tax if the annual premiums for a health insurance plan exceed $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage.
Medical deductions: Under current law, an individual may deduct only qualified medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI). Beginning in 2013, the new law generally raises this “floor” to 10% of your AGI.
However, an individual (and spouse) who is age 65 or older is temporarily exempt from this increase for tax years beginning after 2012 and before 2017.
Flexible spending accounts: The new law caps the annual amount of health care FSA contributions at $2,500, beginning in 2013 (indexed for inflation after 2013).
Adoption credit: The new law makes the adoption credit refundable, retroactively raises the dollar limit on the credit for 2010 from $12,170 to $13,170 and enhances the credit for adopting special needs children.
Information reporting: Beginning in 2012, a business must file information returns for annual payments of $600 or more to any corporate or noncorporate recipient (other than tax-exempt entities).
Of course, this is only a general overview of several important tax provisions in the massive health care legislation. The new health care law will have far-reaching effects for individuals and business owners. To find out exactly how the new law affects you, your family and your business, call us and we will be glad to provide you with an analysis of your situation.

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Tax, Accounting, Consulting - Emil Estafanous, CPA, CFF, CGMA