A bigger tax bite program when one of the spouses died

This is tough enough, when the spouse died. But in taxes, the survivors should be ready to fight another: a bigger tax label, is called a widow (or widower) penalty

When the spouse dies, the survivor income may decline. However, for single filers tax bracket threshold value is relative to the low threshold of co-filers. “Single people into tax brackets faster” than joint filers, James Martin, Mooresville, Indiana CPA said, “All of a sudden, it is easy to get an increase” in taxes.

James recalls the elderly couple, he suggested. In 2012, the year her husband died, the widow can submit a joint return. This adjusted gross income for the couple’s $ 91,000 and $ 66,000 taxable income, down w ^ ithin joint filers 15% tax rate ($ 17,400 to $ 70,700 in 2012). Her federal tax tag: $ eight thousand eight hundred eighty-four. (AGI is total income minus some adjustments, but taxable income AGI is less personal allowances and deductions.)

In 2013, the wife of AGI dropped to $ 88,000. But her taxable income rises to $ 69,000, as the result of the medical deduction and reduce the loss of a personal tax exemption. She met her taxable income to single filers ($ 36,250 to $ 87,850) of the 25% rate. Her federal tax bill: $ 13,365. “If she is still married,” James said. “They would have been in the top 15% bracket.” This aircraft in 2013 to $ 72,500 cap

As a person, a widow may be required to pay income additional part B medical Insurance and related part d for the first tIME – about $ 640 (trigger point for married couples is twice as high, AGI of $ 170,000 to $ 85,000 single)

For older retired couple, James said, “do not change a whole lot of income” – leaving many survivors at a high level. Investment income is likely to remain level, for example,

The main expenditure may not fall or SimDi Hounsell, a secure retirement, president of the Institute of Women, said. “She still has a house,” Hounsell said that property taxes and maintenance costs.

Tax benefits 

James said the widow penalty has moderate influence the maximum retirement income taxpayers. After the death of a spouse, he said, there is a greater possibility of a higher proportion of survivors social security in favor of W¯¯ sick need to pay tax.

Consider a couple $ 40,000 and 15 percent of AGI, $ 18,000 does not include social security benefits. Fifty-seven percent of their interests will be subject to federal income tax – that is, to a $ 1,538 tax bite. Her husband’s death, his wife fell to $ 35,000 AGI her benefit drops to $ 12,000. At this point, 85% of her benefits will be taxed – for the $ 1,530 tax label

Survivors of the high income can hit, too. 39.6% top tax rate, for example, in the couple taxable income kicked in $ 450,000 and $ 400,000 singles.

Has a step, the couple can be taken from the retention survivors jump to a higher bracket. “The most important thing is to look at this, and the couple’s life,” Jeffrey Levine, IRA technical consultant, said:. “This should be part of an overall plan,” and Ed Lancaster and companies

One strategy is part of converting your traditional IRA to Roth. If you are a couple in the 25% tax rate, it can convert enough to take you a few years ago bracket – tax and other conversion tab will not exceed 25%. After the death of a spouse, from a traditional IRA withdrawals “may be partially offset by tax-free income from the Roth spouse and maintained at 25%,” Levin said.

To buy life insurance while you are still healthy is another strategy, James said. Survivor benefits can provide tax-free income. Or, he or she can pay future Roth conversion or taxes in a larger tax bill with the money, if the survivors crashed to a higher level, he said.