Blog   Tagged ‘taxes’

Financial Word of the Week: Tax Exemptions

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Financial Word of the Week

To wrap up this tax month, let’s talk about exemptions—special deductions that you can use to lower your taxable income.

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Exemptions are a set amount of income that is not subject to income tax. This amount could change each year and could be reduced if your adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. For 2014, you may deduct up to $3,950 for each exemption you claim. You may claim exemptions for yourself, your spouse and any dependents.

Phaseout of Exemptions (2014)

Filing Status                                       Adjusted Gross Income Level That Reduces Exemption Amount

Married Filing Separately                                       $152,525

Single                                                                                 $254,200

Head of Household                                                    $279,650

Married Filing Jointly                                               $305,050

Qualifying Widow(er)                                               $305,050

For example, if you are married and have two qualifying children, you may be able to claim four exemptions. For 2014, this would equate to an exemption amount of up to $15,800 ($3,950 x 4).

If you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, then you are not allowed an exemption for yourself on your own tax return, even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim you as a dependent.

A dependent can be either a qualifying child or other qualifying relative, but your spouse can never be considered a dependent. Special rules are used to determine whether someone can be considered a dependent.

For more information on exemptions, refer to IRS Publication 501.

 

*This post is not meant to replace the advice of a tax professional.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Financial Word of the Week: Tax Bracket

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FWOTW

Earlier this month, we discussed tax deductions and charitable deductions. This week, we want to talk about tax brackets.

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The United States has a progressive tax system, which means your marginal tax rate increases as your taxable income increases. Tax brackets indicate the marginal tax rate that applies to you based on whether your taxable income falls within a certain range or “bracket.” There are seven tax brackets in the United States, with marginal tax rates ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent.

A marginal tax rate is the tax rate you pay on each additional dollar of income. In other words, the first dollar of taxable income is taxed at the lowest rate. As your taxable income increases into the next bracket, only those dollars within that bracket are taxed at the new marginal tax rate.  The actual percent of your taxable income that you pay to the IRS is called your Effective Tax Rate.

Remember that your taxable income is the income left over after subtracting all allowable deductions and exemptions. We’ll discuss exemptions in our next tax-related financial word of the week.

To see which tax bracket might be applicable to you, please refer to the IRS website or see the below example.

Income-Tax-Rates-table

*This post is not meant to replace the advice of a tax professional.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Tax Facts {infographic}

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How much do you know about taxes?  If you’re like a lot of people, you just want to know how much you owe the IRS or how much the IRS owes you. But if you dig deeper, you will be amazed at how our income tax system has evolved and some of the interesting factoids that would astound even the most seasoned tax professional. To get ready for Tax Day tomorrow, arm yourself with some cocktail party chatter by taking a look at the infographic below.
Tax Day infographic

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Mr. Chen is a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for UMB Private Wealth Management. He is responsible for all aspects of portfolio construction, including asset allocation, security selection and mutual fund analysis for high-net-worth clients. He joined UMB in 2013 and has 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Mr. Chen earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Financial Management from Kansas State University and Master of Science in Business with a Finance Concentration from the University of Kansas. He serves on the board of directors for the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City CFA Society. He is a Certified Financial Planner® and is a CFA charterholder.



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Financial Word of the Week: Charitable Deductions

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FWOTW

Last week we went over what a tax deduction is. This week we’ll focus specifically on the deduction for making charitable donations.

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If there are specific charities that you’re passionate about and want to help, the first step is to confirm that they are qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions before you give them anything.  Ask them to send you their IRS letter recognizing their tax-exempt status.  You can also call the IRS directly (toll-free) at 1-877-829-5500 or visit the IRS website to confirm an organization’s status.

Once you have confirmed their status, you need to keep track of all your donations to that organization.  The best way is to ask for a receipt every time you donate cash or property.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. You cannot deduct contributions to specific individuals or families. Even if you give money to a qualified charity, you may not specify someone to receive the benefit.
  2. There are limits to how much you can deduct. Generally, you may not deduct more than 50% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).  For example, if your AGI is $30,000 and you contribute $20,000 in cash to a qualified charity, your deduction will be limited to $15,000.  If your income is above a certain threshold, the amount you can deduct may be reduced.
  3. If you volunteer for a qualified organization, some unreimbursed, out-of-pocket expenses may be deductible as well. A deduction of this type might include mileage for driving to and from the volunteer location.  However you may not deduct the value of your time, such as income you lost because you were volunteering instead of working.

For more information on Charitable Contributions, see IRS Publication 526.

 

*This post is not meant to replace the advice of a tax professional.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Financial Word of the Week: Tax Deductions

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FWOTW

Tax season is upon us. Have you filed your taxes yet? Our April series on tax terms will help you navigate the filing process, even if it’s for next year. Let’s start with tax deductions.

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There are several types of tax deductions.  A deduction is an expense or other amount that the IRS allows you to use to offset against your income to ultimately reduce the amount of income tax that you owe.  Certain expenses are considered “above-the-line deductions” and are deducted from your gross income.  These might include certain business expenses, alimony paid, or if you make contributions to a Traditional IRA, among others.  The income remaining is called your Adjusted Gross Income.  You can now look at another set of possible deductions, sometimes called “below-the-line deductions”.

You have two options when it comes to below-the-line deductions.  These deductions are subtracted from your Adjusted Gross Income to arrive at Taxable Income.  You simply choose the option that will reduce your Taxable Income the most:

  • Standard deduction – the standard deduction was created to simplify the life of the “average” taxpayer. Instead of making everyone responsible for documenting their deductible expenses, the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct a fixed amount as a standard deduction.  The amount of the standard deduction will depend on your filing status (single, married filing joint, etc), whether you are 65 or older, or blind. The amount might change each year.  The standard deduction would likely apply to you if your tax situation is relatively simple.
  • Itemized deduction – there are certain expenses that the IRS allows you to deduct from your Adjusted Gross Income such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and uninsured medical expenses to name a few. When you add up all these itemized deductions and the amount is greater than the standard deduction amount, you should use the itemized deduction amount to reduce your Adjusted Gross Income.  Just make sure you have proper documentation of these expenses or the IRS might disallow them, causing you to pay more in taxes than you otherwise would have to.

The Internal Revenue Service website has a list of potential deductions. This list details what can be deducted and the limits that apply to certain deductions.

For more advice on taking advantage of your tax credits, check out our recent blog post.

 

*This post is not meant to replace the advice of a tax professional.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Don’t let tax credits fall through the cracks

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How can you get a bigger refund when filing your taxes? These tips can help:
tax credit tips
Even if you’re dreading the process of filing your taxes this year, taking the time to know what you’re doing can equal a bigger refund check. Everything from plugging in your electric car to adopting a child can be considered for deductions, so don’t miss out on refunds this year.

The IRS offers several federal tax credit options designed to lessen the burden of taxpayers. This is especially true for low- and middle-income households, which often retain a higher percentage of their annual salaries for basic living expenses than high-income households.

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Earn tax deductions with a retirement plan
Some of the best tax deductions tend to be linked to retirement plans. With these deductions, you save money on annual taxes and invest in your future.

The Saver’s Tax Credit (previously known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) is for those making eligible contributions to a 401(k), IRA, or other workplace retirement plans such as a 403(b), 457, or Thrift Savings Plan. If you’re contributing and are in a lower-income bracket, you can receive a tax credit up to $1,000 when filing alone and up to $2,000 if filing jointly.  This credit is on top of the tax advantages already associated with retirement plans, which might include pre-tax contributions, tax-deferred growth, or tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Tax credits for small business owners
The IRS also offers potential tax credits for small business owners. One of the biggest deductions is through a home office credit.

More than 50 percent of U.S. small businesses operate at an owner’s home, according to the Small Business Administration(SBA). Unfortunately, many fear taking advantage of this tax credit will red flag an audit from the IRS. The good news is, that fear is usually unfounded.

To be eligible for a home office tax deduction, the IRS requires a portion of a residential property to be considered a legitimate home office. The home must be a primary workplace. If there is an additional office used, you cannot file a home office deduction. An exception can sometimes be made for those who work all day at an office part of the week and all day at home the rest of the week.

To figure out a home office credit, the SBA recommends calculating deductions by comparing the size of the home office versus the rest of the home. However, a business owner can also deduct expenses for a separate freestanding structure, which means a business owner can use a studio to conduct work, or a garage or barn for storage. But those freestanding structures should be exclusively for business.

Tax refunds as a way to save
Remember that getting a large refund may not always be in your best interest. It could be a sign that you’re having too much money withheld from your wages. If you have trouble saving on a regular basis, however, forced savings through tax withholdings is better than not saving at all. Just try to set aside all or a portion of your refund for the future. Some great ways to use your refund include paying down high-interest debt, building an emergency fund and investing for retirement.

 

Take a look at the IRS website for a comprehensive list of deductions, and ask a trusted tax accountant for advice on which ones apply to your situation so you can take full advantage of your options.

 

*This post is not meant to replace the advice of a tax professional.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Chen is a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for UMB Private Wealth Management. He is responsible for all aspects of portfolio construction, including asset allocation, security selection and mutual fund analysis for high-net-worth clients. He joined UMB in 2013 and has 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Mr. Chen earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Financial Management from Kansas State University and Master of Science in Business with a Finance Concentration from the University of Kansas. He serves on the board of directors for the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City CFA Society. He is a Certified Financial Planner® and is a CFA charterholder.



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Happy Income Tax Day from the Mad Men

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April 15 is finally here! To “celebrate” we want to take a look at what taxes the Mad Men (and women) at SC&P would have paid back in the 1960s…and if they were real people.

Enjoy this retro infographic from our friends at H&R Block.

“TheThe Taxes of Mad Men‡ via H&R Block

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Building long-term wealth with your HSA

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So you know what a health savings account (HSA) is and that you can use it for long-term savings. Now what? How exactly do you use your HSA as a savings tool? You can use them as a compliment to your retirement strategy to build wealth for qualified2 medical expenses, including tax-free Medicare premiums.

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Don’t sell yourself short

According to the Devenir Year-End 2012 survey, the average HSA individual account balance was $1,807. Most people aren’t taking full advantage of their HSA. The IRS allows a maximum HSA contribution of $3,250 for individuals1 or $6,450 for family1 coverage for 2013 (plus a catch-up amount of $1,000 more for people over 55 years old).

Medical costs are a major financial burden for retirees. Fidelity’s widely-recognized annual study shows an average healthy couple retiring in 2012 at age 65 needed $240,000 for out-of-pocket health care costs (after Medicare and not including long-term care costs).

Everyone faces the possibility of high medical costs in their later years so you should start planning sooner rather than later. Starting to save earlier adds more to savings, and delays limit the amount of the nest egg. Long-term returns may vary, but like all savings plans, it’s always a good idea to start early.

Gain triple tax advantages

It’s also a good idea to always first take advantage of any offered match for your HSA or 401(k). While many further invest in their 401k or IRAs, your HSA may be a more appealing choice in terms of flexibility, tax advantages and long-term growth potential.

It’s important to consider taxes in long-term investing because of the compounding of savings. The comparison chart below shows the key tax considerations for each type of account.

 Building long-term wealth with your HSA

 * Not taxed if funds are withdrawn for qualified medical expenses.
**  Tax references are at the federal level.  States can choose to follow the federal tax-treatment guidelines for HSAs or establish their own; some states tax HSA contributions. If you have questions about your tax implications, consult your tax advisor.
***
Investment products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee, and may lose value.

HSAs have the potential to offer triple tax advantages for individuals – something not seen in other retirement accounts. Only an HSA offers tax benefits at deposit**, during the account’s life and upon a qualified2 medical expense withdrawal. So a person saving for future medical needs can avoid taxes at all three stages in this life cycle.

Invest for long-term growth

Major HSA providers now offer multiple investment options. Learn more about what kind of investment options are available with your employer’s HSA. If your HSA encourages long-term savings, consider participating in the multiple investment options available. And take advantage of any tools offered by your employer to help you plan for the future, including investment objectives, risk tolerance and mix of assets across all accounts.

You have an opportunity to prepare for future health care expenses during retirement or later in life. Start learning more about your employer’s HSA and how you can use it to your advantage.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

1 If you do not meet HSA eligibility requirements for the full tax year, you may not be able to contribute the maximum amount. Please consult your tax advisor or employer for more information.

2 Qualified medical expenses are those defined under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

Investments in securities, whether through a Money Market Sweep Account or through a Self-directed Brokerage Account are:

Not FDIC-Insured • May Lose Value • No Bank Guarantee.

 Securities  through your self-directed HSA brokerage account are offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA (www.finra.org), SIPC (www.sipc.com).  UMB Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a. is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation. UMB Financial Services, Inc. is not a bank and is separate from UMB Bank, n.a. and other banks.


Dennis Triplett is chief executive officer of UMB Healthcare Services. He is responsible for the strategic direction in healthcare banking and manages the sales and marketing activities, plus product development and relationship management. Dennis has more than 29 years of experience in the banking industry. He currently serves as board chairman for the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, chairman of America’s Health Insurance Plans’ HSA Leadership Council and a charter member of the American Bankers Association’s HSA Council.



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