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Archive for the ‘inflation’ Category

IRS Releases 2020 Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on November 6, 2019

IRS has done its official calculations of the adjustments that will be required for more than 60 tax provisions in the year 2020.

Their Press Release:  IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2020

All of the juicy details are in this 28 page PDF of Revenue Procedure 2019-44

A handy one-page version of the changes compared to previous years from TheTaxBook: 2019-11-13_Inflation_Adjusted_Amounts_for_2020

 

Gifting Exclusion

The Number One question I constantly receive regarding these IRS inflation adjustments has to do with the annual exclusion from Gift Tax reporting because many people structure their estate plans based on gifting the maximum each year.  Unlike most of the other inflation adjusted provisions, which do increase every year, the amount of the annual Gift Tax exclusion is only allowed to increase when the cumulative inflation factor warrants an increase of a full $1,000.  This does make a lot of sense.  Otherwise, the exclusion amount would be very odd, not round, figures that would be very confusing to keep track of.  For 2020, there will be no increase in the annual Gift Tax exclusion.  It will remain at $15,000 per donor (giver) per donee (recipient).

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Releases 2020 Inflation Adjustments

Adjusting Costs For Inflation When Computing Cap Gain Taxes?

Posted by taxguru on July 31, 2019

One of the many extremely unfair aspects of the tax system in this country that I have long railed against is the fact that, when assets that have been owned for several years are sold, the taxable gain is based on the original cost, with no adjustment for the fact that the dollars being recovered are worth much less today than what was paid out those many years ago.  Current year tax rates are literally assessed on inflation.

Over the past three decades, there have been some feeble attempts to remedy this injustice by allowing people to adjust their cost bases by the changes in the cost of living.  I have written and spoken about this in great detail since 1992, when it seemed to have some momentum, only to fizzle out under the wimpy gutless leadership of both Bush presidents.

Some historical references on this issue:

My article from the 1990s on this topic has been on my main website ever since then: Indexing Gains For Inflation

The Wall Street Journal article addressed to Pres. George H.W. Bush from 8/31/92 that got a lot of us excited at the time: An Act of Leadership

A similar press release from the National Taxpayer Union on 1/23/08 addressed to Pres. George W. Bush: Bush Can Bolster Economy by Ordering Inflation-Indexed Cap Gains Taxes, Legal Brief Says

The actual report from August 1992 that is discussed in the above articles, describing the authority that the Treasury Dept. has to define Cost Basis as being inflation adjusted: 96 page PDF

 

The reason I am bringing this issue back up for discussion is the following very encouraging news from the U.S Senate:

Cruz Pushes Mnuchin for Quick Action on Capital Gains Tax Break

I doubt that I am alone in thinking that things are very different nowadays in terms of the odds of such a change finally being made.  As was illustrated, both Presidents Bush were extremely wimpy and utterly scared to death to do anything that would offend the media and the Dims, such as authorizing anything that would be propagandized by them as a boondoggle for the evil rich at the expense of the poor working slobs.  Both of them were too scared to do the right thing and implement this change in policy to allow the cost basis of capital assets to be adjusted for inflation.  Now that we have someone in the White House who seems to relish taking on the status quo and cares not a whit about offending the Dims and their media cohorts, we should finally have a much better chance of seeing this long overdue change enacted.

Posted in CapGains, inflation | Comments Off on Adjusting Costs For Inflation When Computing Cap Gain Taxes?

2019 IRS Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on November 20, 2018

Even with all of the changes from the TCJA, there are still some items that are adjusted periodically for increases in the cost of living.  IRS has done the calculations for 2019 and released the following press release.

IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2019 

The folks at TheTaxBook have summarized the 2019 changes, with comparisons to the 2018 and 2017 amounts.  I posted a copy of it on my Google Drive for easy downloading.

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on 2019 IRS Inflation Adjustments

2018 Federal Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 25, 2017

Every year, some parts of the tax code, such as the beginning and ending points for the various personal income tax brackets, are adjusted for the change in the government’s official Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of August 31.  This is supposed to prevent “bracket creep,” where people whose income is just keeping pace with inflation are pushed into the higher percentage brackets.

Not all tax related amounts in the Tax Code adjust automatically for inflation.  There are scores of tax related figures in the Tax Code that do not ever get adjusted and have been the same for several decades, waiting for an official Act of Congress to be adjusted for the effects of inflation.

As has been the tradition, tax publishers are the first to do the calculations and release the inflation adjustments for the next year.  IRS will release their official inflation adjustments for 2018 in the next month or so, assuming those IRS employees are still around in IRS HQ.

The first such report with 2018 adjusted amounts that I have come across is this 16 page pdf from Thomson Reuters.

Projected 2018 Inflation-Adjusted Tax Brackets and Other Key Figures

As I have done in previous years, I will post links to other such reports, as I learn about them.

Update 10/25/2017:  IRS has announced their official inflation adjustment figures in the following two news releases.

IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018

In 2018, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Unchanged

One key adjustment that I didn’t mention earlier is the fact that, after several years at $14,000, the annual Gift Tax exclusion will rise to $15,000 per donor per donee for 2018.  This exemption is only increased in $1,000 increments, so it normally takes a few years of cumulative inflation before it’s enough to trigger the $1,000 increase.

Posted in inflation | Comments Off on 2018 Federal Inflation Adjustments

IRS’s 2017 Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 26, 2016

As anyone who follows the tax systems in this country knows, they consist of a crazy quilt of thousands of different provisions.  Some of the provisions have dollar amounts that are never changed without an official Act of Congress.  As a result, many of these have been in the system at the same amounts for decades and have not kept up with inflation.

One of the biggest such unchanged figures is the $250,000 per person tax free exclusion of gain from sales of primary residences, under Section 121. This has been the exemption amount when this provision took effect on May 7, 1997 and is still that exact same amount today.  While that amount does cover the gains that most people have when they sell their homes, especially in “fly-over” parts of this country, it is far from adequate to cover the gains sellers in expensive areas have, such as on the coasts.

Other provisions of our tax systems have been written with annual inflation adjustments in order to keep up with the cost of living.  The most important area is with the “progressive” (aka “soak the rich”) tax rate structure that we have that assesses much higher percentages on taxpayers who earn more money than others.  Before our rulers in DC added annual inflation adjustments to where these tax brackets begin and end, many people were victims of what was called “Bracket Creep.”  Their income was growing at the pace of inflation, but they were finding themselves pushed into the higher percentage brackets.  With annual inflation adjustments of the brackets, taxpayers whose income only rises at the same rate as the CPI should stay in the same marginal brackets.

Interestingly, the inflation adjustments for tax rates only apply to individual taxpayers.  The tax rate structure for C corporations has been pretty much the same for decades and does not change until our all powerful rulers in DC so decree.

This is a longer than normal introduction to the IRS’s official calculation and announcement of the inflation adjusted amounts for 2017.  These are very handy for tax planning purposes. 

Some States also have similar kinds of inflation adjustments for their state level taxes, but they are normally announced much later than IRS’s timetable.  For example, the California Franchise Tax Board just announced its 2016 inflation adjustments on Sept 7, 2016.

IRS Summary of 2017 Changes:

In 2017, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Are Unchanged

IRS Details of Changes: 

Revenue Procedure 2016-55  (30 page PDF)

 

Annual Gifting Exclusion:

The amount that is exempt from Gift Tax reporting is not adjusted every year.  It is only adjusted when the cumulative CPI change since the most recent change is close to $1,000 so the amount can always be an even multiple of thousands and not some odd looking number.  Since I constantly receive questions about gifting, I want to point out that the 2016 inflation has been so low that the annual exclusion will remain at the same $14,000 per donor per donee amount for 2017 as it has been since 2013.

 

 

Posted in 2017, inflation, IRS | Comments Off on IRS’s 2017 Inflation Adjustments

2016 Federal Tax Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 15, 2015

Every year around this time, different tax scholars apply the past year’s annual inflation rate to those parts of the IRC that require annual adjustments. 

The first such announcement that I have learned about for 2016 is from The Tax Foundation. Here is the summary of their calculations:

Web – HTML

PDF (4 pages)

Update: IRS Has released its own calculations of the inflation adjustments for 2016:

In 2016, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Are Unchanged

Revenue Procedure 2015-53 with more details (27 page PDF)

IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2016

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on 2016 Federal Tax Inflation Adjustments