Guilderland, NY – We are coming up on the time of year when many of us will be busy preparing and gathering the information necessary for the completion of our 2016 income tax returns. Below are several items that you should be aware of as it relates to this process.
By the second week of February, you should have received your forms W-2 (employment wages) and any 1099R (retirement income), 1099-INT, or 1099-MISC (other income) statements for 2016, as well as your social security benefits statement, if applicable. You should also begin receiving forms 1099-DIV and 1099-B for any directly-owned investments such as mutual funds.
If you own a brokerage account, you may not receive your consolidated brokerage tax statement until the beginning of March at the latest. To reduce the possibility of having to send amended tax statements due to late or corrected reporting by various investment companies, many brokerage firms have opted to delay mailing these consolidated statements.
Other considerations may include real estate taxes paid, mortgage interest, medical expenses, investment advisory fees, forms K-1, estimated income tax payments, charitable donations (whether by check or in-kind), etc.
The 2016 individual income tax landscape is very similar to 2015. There were minor inflation-based increases to personal exemptions, standard deductions, and tax-bracket thresholds. The medical expense deduction threshold remains at 10% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), however individuals age 65 and older have been granted an extension of the old 7.5% threshold through 12/31/2016. Individuals not covered by “minimum essential” health insurance for all of 2016 will find themselves with additional reporting requirements and potential increased penalties compared to 2015.
We encourage you to consult your tax preparer to determine if you are eligible to make a 2016 contribution to a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. The maximum contribution limit to either type of account for 2016 is $5,500 ($6,500 if you had turned 50 by 12/31/2016). 2016 contributions to individual retirement accounts should be made no later than April 18, 2017.
Whether you elect to self-prepare your income tax returns or hire a professional, we suggest you make all efforts to determine that you are taking advantage of any available opportunities for tax savings or tax deferral. In particular, retirement account contributions may serve the dual benefit of helping to reduce income taxes now while providing additional income during retirement.