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Tax Changes 2015: Things to Know to Prepare for Tax Day

Tax changes 2015

“Nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes” --- except, it often seems as though even taxes aren’t that certain.

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service makes a few changes to the tax code, based on new rules or to account for inflation. It’s up to you to keep up with the changes, so that you file an accurate return yearly and don’t end up paying more than you owe or less than you need to. Tax changes 2015 include a few new rules as well as increases on a number of deductions or limits.

Affordable Care Act Changes

If you have health insurance, either from your employer, a plan you purchased on your own, or a plan you obtained on the exchange, you don’t need to worry so much about the increased tax for 2015. But, if you don’t have health insurance and aren’t exempt from having it, you’ll owe an additional tax of either $325 per person or 2 percent your income, whichever is higher, for returns filed for 2015. For 2014 tax returns, the fee was the larger of 1 percent of income or $95 per person.

New Rollover Rules

Tax changes 2015 also include new rules for people who want to rollover certain retirement accounts. Starting this year, you are limited to one individual retirement arrangement (IRA) rollover per year. The IRS is implementing the rule to crackdown on people who would use IRS rollovers as a type of interest free loan --- they withdraw the funds, then make sure to open a new IRA within 60 days and redeposit the initial amount to avoid the early withdrawal penalty. With the new rule, any extra rollovers made during the year are subject to the penalty and to income tax. It’s worth noting that direct transfers from one IRA to another aren’t considered rollovers. If you open an IRA with a new company, you can have the bank that holds your first IRA send money directly to the new IRA without any penalty or worry.

Deductions and Limits Increase

Tax rules need to keep on top of inflation, so each year the IRS raises the limits on certain contributions and deductions. In 2015, for example, the amount of the standard deduction will jump up by $100, to $6,300 for a single person (from $6,200) or to $12,600 for a married couple who file together (from $12,400). The personal exemption amount is also going up by $50 in 2015, meaning you can deduct $4,000 per dependent. If you have a 401(k), you’ll be able to contribute up to $18,000 to it in 2015 and can make a catch-up contribution of up to $6,000 if you’re over age 50. The maximum you can contribute to a flexible spending account (FSA), if one is available to you, has gone up to $2,550 for 2015. A FSA is pre-tax money that you can use for a number of healthcare expenses, such as seeing the dentist or getting a pair of glasses.

Making heads and tails of taxes can be confusing, especially since the rules are always changing slightly. Before you file, it helps to review the changes with a tax professional, to make sure you’re getting the most from your return.

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