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Financial deadlines and rules to know for this tax season

As you prepare for the 2019 tax filing season, it’s important to keep in mind new contribution limits, deadlines and tax details. We provide some key information that can help you make the most of your retirement savings and get through tax season with less stress.

Highlights for your 2019 tax season

Tax filings can be complex, and it’s not unusual for people to feel anxious or overwhelmed by tax guidelines. To help simplify the details, we listed some key dates and rules in the chart below, followed by an overview of recent changes to contribution limits, age guidelines and other tax details.

Tax dates to know

Date Why is this important?
January 1, 2020 Start date of new SECURE Act rules
April 15, 2020 Last day for 2019 individual retirement account (IRA) contributions
April 15, 2020 Last day for 2019 health savings account (HSA) contributions
December 31, 2020 Recommended deadline for submitting HSA and flexible spending account claims for 2020; employers may have grace periods

Retirement account rule changes

Delay in required minimum distribution (RMD) age

In late 2019, a new law was passed called the SECURE Act that delays when you must start taking your RMD. Starting in 2020, the age you need to start withdrawing money from your IRA is now 72 instead of age 70 ½. So, if you don’t need to use your retirement money once you turn 70 ½, you now have more time for your IRA funds to stay invested. If you turn 70 ½ on or after January 1, 2020, you are subject to the new rule and have extra time before you need to start withdrawals. However, if you turned 70 ½ before January 1, 2020, you must start your RMDs according to the previous law.

Traditional IRA contributions will have no age restrictions

The SECURE Act also changed the age limit for traditional IRA contributions. Now you can continue to put money into your IRA in the same year you turn 70 ½ and beyond, if you earn an income. If you are working into your 70s, the age cap for putting savings into a traditional IRA disappears. This goes into effect for the 2020 tax season, so for the 2019 tax year filing, which are based on wages earned in 2019, the 70 ½ age limit is still in place.

Remember, you can make 2019 IRA contributions until April 15, 2020. Your total contributions cannot be more than $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. These contribution limits don’t change in 2020. Also, keep in mind that your traditional IRA contributions may be tax-deductible depending on your income and filing status. These thresholds are also subject to other rules, like whether or not you and/or your spouse have a retirement plan through your employer. Consult with your tax professional for more specific scenarios.

Other contribution updates

Increased contribution limits for 401(k)s

Contributions to 401(k)s usually apply to the same calendar year they were taken out of your paycheck. The contribution limit for 2019 was $19,000, and it goes up to $19,500 in 2020. For those who are 50 or older, catch-up contributions also increased from $6,000 to $6,500. If you are able to increase your contributions, make adjustments to the percentage being withheld from your paycheck to reach the higher limit.

The new law also allows part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans. To be eligible for this benefit, employees must have worked at least 500 hours a year for three consecutive years, or 1,000 hours in one year.

Increased contribution limits for HSAs

If you have an HSA and didn’t reach the contribution limit in 2019, you can contribute up until the April 15, 2020 tax deadline. This will also count toward your 2019 federal income tax return. The contribution limit in 2019 for individuals was $3,500, which increases to $3,550 in 2020, and the contribution limit for families increased from $7,000 to $7,100. And, don’t forget, if you are 55 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000 to your HSA each year.

As a reminder, you should try to submit HSA and FSA claims in the same year the expense incurred. Some employers offer a grace period, so check with your current employer for more information and how that may affect your claim timing.

Increased standard deduction and new tax brackets

The IRS released the new tax brackets for the 2020 tax year. The seven tax rates didn’t change from 2019 but the ranges were adjusted to account for inflation. It is important to note that the tax brackets from 2018 to 2019 did change and lowers a number of the tax rates and the income thresholds at which the rates apply.

For the 2019 filing season, the standard deduction amount nearly doubles. In fact, single taxpayers’ deductions go from $6,350 for 2017 taxes to $12,200 for 2019 taxes, and the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly increased from $12,700 in 2017 to $24,400 for 2019. In order to make itemizing deductions worthwhile, make sure your deductions are greater than the standard deduction you are entitled to.

The new SECURE Act will impact retirement savings in several ways and influence how you use your retirement funds in the future. Be sure to review your financial plan and crosscheck how these changes directly effect you. Other tax deadlines and changes should be noted now—both to prepare for your 2019 tax filing and to understand how the changes can impact your 2020 tax filing next year.

If you’re unclear about what these updates mean for you, reach out to your financial and tax professionals for guidance.

UMB personal banking and wealth management solutions offer convenience and simplicity to meet all your past, present and future financial needs. From home loans to investment management—and everything in between—our financial teams are here to help you reach your financial goals.

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