by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
Federal Employees News Digest : Dec 9, 2013
With a little over three weeks remaining until the end of 2013, now is the time for federal employees to focus on what they can do to save on their 2013 federal income tax bill. Some employees will need to deal with significant changes in the tax code put into effect earlier in 2013 resulting from the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Here are some recommended tax actions that employees can take to possibly lower 2013 tax liability: Use tax loss "harvesting" to reduce, or to elimi- nate, capital gains. If an individual investor is plan- ning to cash in on any stock market gains, then the individual might also want to also consider selling stocks that have decreased in value since first pur- chased. This sale results in a capital loss that can be used to offset the market gains. For example, if one has a $10,000 capital gain resulting from the sale of a particular stock, then one can sell an equal amount in losing positions and offset the capi- tal gains, perhaps resulting in no capital gains tax. It is the "net" amount --- capital gains less capital losses --- that counts for tax matters. Any "net" amount of capital losses exceeding capital gains can be applied to other income --- dividend, interest or salary income --- up to $3,000 per year. Any excess losses above $3,000 may be forwarded to the next tax year and used at that time. Review dividends to make sure they qualify for the lower (preferential) tax rate. The preferential tax rate on "qualified" dividends is 0 percent for those individuals who are in a 10 or 15 percent marginal tax bracket and 15 percent for those individu- als who are in a 25, 28, 33 or 35 percent marginal tax bracket. In order to be considered as a "qualified" dividend, the stock must be common stock and must have been owned for at least 60 days preceding the dividend payable date. This means that any individual who bought some common stock after Oct. 31 would not qualify for preferential tax rates on common stock dividends payable in December 2013. Make charitable contributions. For those employees who itemize on their income taxes, charitable contributions are a good way of reducing one's tax bill. Contributions must be made before Jan. 1, 2014, in order to be deductible on 2013 income tax returns. Contributions can be in the form of cash/check or property. For cash/check contributions, individuals must receive a statement from the charity showing the name of the charity, the date of the contribution, and the amount given. Alternatively, an individual can have a bank record of the contribu- tion. If a charity accepts a donation via a credit card, then such a donation made in December will be deductible on this year's taxes even though the charge card is paid in January. For noncash contri- butions, deductions may not be taken for donations of used clothing or household items that are not in "good used condition or better." Maximize IRA tax benefits. Individuals have until April 15, 2014, to make their 2013 contribu- tion to an individual retirement account or IRA. For 2013, the amount that can be contributed to an IRA has increased $500 to a maximum of $5,500, or $6,500 if an individual was born before Jan. 1, 1964. There are adjusted gross income (AGI) limi- tations for contributions to a traditional deductible IRA and to a Roth IRA. These limitations can be viewed in IRS Publication 590 (Individual Retirement Arrangements) which can be downloaded from www.irs.gov. Prepare for the new Medicare "surtax." The Medicare "sur- tax" is a new tax that took effect on Jan. 1, 2013, that will affect upper-income individuals resulting from the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The surtax applies to net investment income -- taxable interest, dividends, capital gains, rental income and royalties -- for individuals whose AGI is over $200,000 (single) or $250,000 (married filing jointly). Those individuals whose AGI is approaching these thresholds should consider the impact of this new tax before, for example, taking capital gains before year end and increasing their income. The surtax is equal to 3.8 percent and is in addition to the other tax paid on invest- ment income. As explained above, "harvesting" capital losses is a common year-end strategy. It is perhaps more important this year in order for higher-income individuals to decrease their income and avoid paying the surtax. Additional information about the new Medicare surtax on net investment income may be viewed in the Nov. 25 “Informed Investor” column. Same-sex married couples should be prepared. As a result of the June 26, 2013, Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, the IRS ruled that all same-sex married couples must file as married -- married filing jointly or married filing sepa- rately -- for 2013. This ruling could have a major impact on these couples who in past years filed as single or head of household. Affected couples may want to contact a tax professional before year end to find out how the IRS ruling will affect their 2013 taxes. Edward A. Zurndorfer is a Certified Financial Planner and Enrolled Agent in Silver Spring, MD. He is also a registered representative with FSC Securities Corporation, branch address: 833 Bromley St. - Suite A, Silver Spring, MD 20902. Phone: (301) 681-1652. Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation,member FINRA/SIPC. EZ Accounting and Financial Services and FSC are independent companies. Informed Investor Some recommended tax moves to make before Dec. 31 December 9, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 21 7 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com
Dec 2, 2013
Dec 16, 2013