Change in Tax Rates
Beginning in 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 imposes new higher 39.6% and 20% tax rates on ordinary income and long-term capital gains, respectively. The new top ordinary income tax rate of 39.6% is imposed on taxable income over $400,000 for single filers, $425,000 for head-of-household filers and $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly ($225,000 for each married spouse filing separately). The 20% capital gain tax rate applies to capital gains and dividends for individuals above the top income tax bracket threshold.
Finding the right age and correct strategy to claim Social Security retirement benefits can have a substantial impact on a retiree’s financial security. It is essential for CPA personal financial planners to educate clients about the options and run the numbers pertaining to different claiming scenarios assuming different life expectancies. Traditionally, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) default position has been to recommend the option that provides recipients the largest benefit today, which may be a good idea if you are in ill health and without sufficient assets. However, after considering early retirement penalties, delayed retirement credits, survivor benefits, inflation cost of living adjustments, two-income households, the tax advantage of Social Security and longer life expectancies, it may make sense for one or both spouses to delay to age 70.