Sunday, April 22, 2018
Business

Affluent couples in for a surprise as taxes rise

As tax season starts, Plantation accountant Sheri Schultz has started crunching numbers — and she doesn't like what she sees. Her family is facing tax increases to the tune of thousands of dollars this year.

They and other families with high dual incomes are finding they will owe more in new taxes this year after Congress voted on increases to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Specifically, married couples who earn at least $250,000 a year will be paying more in taxes — much more than their single counterparts, who are allowed to make $200,000 a year before higher taxes kick in.

"It's a hidden tax," said Coral Springs accountant Joel Feller. "People are in for a big surprise."

The new tax increases hit hardest the couples who have both spouses working. More than one-third of women out-earn their husbands, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Schultz is one of them, and now her family will be paying more in taxes than if she had not married. "It's absolutely unfair," she said.

Nationally, 83 percent of households making above $250,000 are led by married couples, who would be hit by the new taxes, according to Maryland-based Sentier Research Group, which recently crunched U.S. Census Bureau data.

Most of the attention has been on Congress raising taxes on people who make at least $400,000. But others who are doing well financially but make less will still pay more taxes.

Schultz said she already knows that her husband and their three children are getting hit hard with new federal taxes on several fronts, from added Social Security taxes to tax breaks cut because of their high income.

The family is losing part of its deductions and personal exemptions, amounting to thousands of dollars in additional taxes — thanks to Congress during the recent fiscal cliff negotiations limiting deductions and exemptions of couples who make more than $300,000 a year in adjusted gross income. (Singles aren't hit until they earn $250,000 a year in adjusted gross income.)

Then Schultz and her husband will have to pay the extra 2 percent in Social Security taxes on their first $113,700 for each in yearly income.

"This is the double whammy for dual-income working couples," accountant Feller said.

A single person earning their income would have to pay only once on the first $113,700, he noted.

High-income couples will also have to pay more under the new health care law, Feller added. It raises in 2013 the Medicare tax by 0.9 percent for those single tax filers who earn more than $200,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples filing jointly, Feller said.

Finally, under the new health care law, people in those higher income groups will also pay an extra 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends, interest, annuities, royalties, rental income and investments, Schultz said.

She said the new taxes hit dual-income professionals the most.

So far, some affluent taxpayers are resigned to the increases, Feller said. "When they see the tax bills, they may start complaining," he said.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18