Working more than one job can help maximize income, but also potentially create a tax surprise. Here are several be aware of:
Social Security Surprise: As a full-time employee, the most you’ll have to pay in Social Security taxes in 2023 is $9,932. The problem is each employer you work for will withhold Social Security taxes up to this threshold.
Example: Jane Smith works two jobs. Employer #1 has withheld $6,000 in Social Security taxes so far in 2023, while Employer #2 has withheld $4,000. Jane has already paid more than the annual limit of $9,932 in Social Security taxes for 2023. Jane will get back the excess Social Security taxes, but she’ll need to wait until she files her 2023 tax return in 2024.
What you can do: Work as a contractor for your second job. You’ll be responsible for paying your own income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, but you’ll be able to manage Social Security taxes to avoid overpayment.
Phaseout Surprise: As your income increases, the number of deductions and tax credits available to you will get smaller as benefit phaseout limits are reached.
Example: The Child Tax Credit provides a $2,000 tax credit for each qualifying child. You don’t qualify for this credit, however, if you file a joint tax return with taxable income above $440,000, or are single and file a return with taxable income above $240,000.
What you can do: Certain deductions and adjustments can help decrease taxable income below a phaseout’s limit. This will potentially allow you to still take advantage of a tax break, such as the Child Tax Credit.
Benefits Surprise: Every retirement and medical account limits how much you can contribute annually. If you exceed these limits, you may have to pay taxes twice on the same income.
Example: The 401(k) contribution limit in 2023 is $22,500. You inadvertently contribute $27,500. The first $22,500 of contributions won’t be taxed until you start making withdrawals after you retire. The excess $5,000 contribution could be taxed twice – you must include the $5,000 as taxable income on your 2023 tax return; you’ll also pay taxes on that $5,000 when you withdraw it from your 401(k) after you retire.
What you can do: Correct any over-contribution before filing that year’s tax return. Up-to-date record keeping throughout the year can alert you to when you’re close to the annual contribution limit.
Estimated Tax Surprise: If your extra job is a contract position, you’ll receive a Form 1099 summarizing how much you billed a particular client in all of 2023. If this is the first time receiving a 1099, you may be surprised to learn that you’re responsible for making all tax payments to the IRS. If you are making a net profit, tax payments for 2023 will need to be made in September and January 2024.
What you can do: Estimated tax payments can sometimes be rather large, especially if you’re making a decent amount of money, so keep good bookkeeping records so you can budget for these payments.
Please call if you have questions about these or any other job-related tax topics.
If you’ve been feeling the pinch of higher auto insurance rates along with other rising costs, you should know some factors that impact these rates are well within your control. Consider these tips to pay less this year and beyond.
Improve your credit score. Many insurance companies consider your credit score and overall creditworthiness when assigning rates, mostly because their research shows credit scores directly correlate with how much risk you pose as a driver. This means that if you want to pay less for auto insurance coverage, you should strive to increase your credit score or move your policy to an insurer that does not use this factor in determining rates. Some easy ways to increase your credit score include using less than 20% of your credit line on your credit cards and by paying all your bills on time.
Ask about discounts. Some auto insurance companies have discounts that are not actively promoted. These are often missed by long-time policy holders that do not specifically ask for them. Examples of discounts include lower rates for being a good student, driving fewer miles, purchasing a car with a lower claim history, or discounts for having air bags, anti-lock brakes, and theft detection devices. There are even discounts for federal employees, military members and for being accident-free for a certain number of years.
Pay premiums in advance. Some auto insurance companies also offer pay-in-full discounts that let you save when you pay for six months or a full year of premiums upfront. This discount can result in 10% to 20% lower premiums right off the bat.
Bundle multiple policies. You may be able to score a discount for having multiple types of coverage with a single insurance company, just as you may get a multi-vehicle discount for having more than one car insured. Typical bundled policies include life insurance, auto insurance, home insurance and umbrella coverage.
Tweak your deductible. Your auto insurance deductible — or the amount you pay for certain claims before coverage kicks in — also plays a role in the cost you pay for auto coverage, and higher deductibles can lead to savings. With that in mind, check how your premiums change if you increase your deductible from $500 to $1,000, from $1,000 to $2,500, and so on.
Take a safe driving course. Finally, taking a safe driving course can help lock in lower auto insurance premiums no matter your age or driving history. The amount of savings you’ll get with this discount can vary, so ask your insurer.
Auto insurance rates may not be going down any time soon, but the steps you take now can help you pay lower rates from this point forward. By improving your credit, checking for discounts and tweaking your policy details, you can get the coverage you need for a price you can afford.
The average credit card balance in America ballooned to $5,910 in 2022. This figure is up 13.2% from the year before according to Experian, and it spells out a worrisome (and costly) trend for consumers. After all, credit card interest rates were on rise throughout all last year and well into 2023, mostly due to changes to the federal funds rate by the Federal Reserve. The fact is, consumers with credit card debt pay an average interest rate of 20.92% as of February 2023, compared to just 16.65% in the second quarter of 2022.
Fortunately, you have the power to use credit cards to your advantage — and to avoid paying exorbitant interest rates altogether. Consider these tips to master credit cards instead of letting them rule over you this year.
Plan purchases to carry no credit card balance. While interest rates are incredibly high right now, you can use credit cards without paying for the privilege. Instead of racking up balances and hoping you can afford the bill, use credit cards for planned purchases only — and for spending that’s backed up by money in the bank. Provided you pay your credit card balance in full each month, today’s sky-high interest rates can’t hurt you.
Consolidate high-interest debts. You can get a break from today’s high rates by consolidating credit card debt you already have with a 0% balance transfer credit card. Many cards in this niche give you 0% APR on balance transfers, purchases or both for up to 21 months. This gives you time to pay down your balance with zero interest, which can help eliminate debt faster and save money along the way.
Earn rewards for your spending. If you’re still using your old credit card from college or haven’t bothered to upgrade in the last few years, you could be missing out. Today’s credit cards let you earn as much as 2% cash back on spending with no annual fee, or you can opt to earn generous rewards for travel instead. Just make sure you carry no balance, as interest rates on these cards can be even higher than regular credit cards.
Put your perks to work. Finally, check whether your credit card has other, often unpromoted, benefits. Depending on your card, you may have access to perks like purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties on items you buy that come with a manufacturer’s warranty or even travel insurance protections. If you already have access to these benefits or others, knowing ahead of time is the best way to put them to good use.
Credit cards offer convenience and a range of features you can benefit from, but they can either be a blessing or a curse for your finances. Ultimately, your best bet is taking control of your credit card use before it controls you.
During inflationary periods, it is harder to balance your income with the rising cost of housing, food, fuel, health care and insurance. One of the biggest tools to fight raising costs is creating a budget and measuring it throughout the year. Here are some suggestions to help create a budget that actually works.
Keep it simple. It’s not necessary to have 50 different expense categories to classify your transactions. Having a simple budget makes it more likely that you stick with it over the long term. So take a look at your bank account and identify the big things. Revenue is pretty straight forward. Expenses are more difficult, so identify the main categories and get a monthly read on them.
Create annually, but manage monthly. See the full year budget as a destination, and your monthly financials as a journey to that destination. That way if you have a bump in the road, you will see other pathways to get to where you want to be at the end of the year. When you are done here, you should have a monthly budget, with full year goals.
Remember to budget for savings. If everything is working well, you have enough money left over at the end of the month to build your net worth. So consider adding a percent of your income in your budget for saving and investing. This will help you build your net worth over time and help fund for emergencies.
Account for taxes. Paying your tax bill may be one of your biggest expenses every year. Schedule several tax planning sessions throughout the year to figure out how much you should be saving every month to pay your federal, state and local tax bills. Then put this dollar amount in your monthly budget.
Remember to have fun. Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend money. It simply means that you’re intentional about it by planning your spending before it happens and ensure it is not out of hand.
Financial experts are bracing for more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve over the remainder of 2023. Any interest rate revision – either increasing or decreasing – can cause a ripple effect throughout the economy. Accordingly, the Federal Reserve’s actions will probably exert at least a moderate influence over financial choices you may make at home and in your business in 2023.
Here are several ways that you could be affected by interest rates that are continuing to trend upward.
Savings and debt
As a consumer, you stand to gain from rising interest rates because you’ll likely earn a better return on your deposits. Over the last ten years, placing your money in a certificate of deposit or passbook savings account has been hardly more profitable than stuffing it under a mattress. On the other hand, the cost of borrowing money will likely increase. As a result, mortgages, car loans, and credit cards will demand higher interest rates. That’s not a big deal if you’re already locked into low-interest fixed-rate loans. But if you have a variable rate loan or carry balances on your credit cards, you may find your monthly payments starting to increase.
On the investment front, market volatility may continue because rate increases are not completely predictable. Market sectors will likely exhibit varied responses to changes in interest rates. Those sectors that are less dependent on discretionary income may be less affected – after all, you need to buy gas, clothes, and groceries regardless of changes in interest rates.
As you adjust your financial plan, you might only need to make minor changes. Staying the course with a well-diversified retirement portfolio is still a prudent strategy. However, you may want to review your investment allocations.
Rising interest rates can also affect your business. If your company’s balance sheet has variable-rate debt, rising interest rates can affect your bottom line and possibly your plans for growth. As the cost of borrowing increases, taking out loans for new equipment or financing expansion with credit may become less desirable.
Please call if you have questions about deciding on the most beneficial response to potential future changes in interest rates.
During tax season, there are a number of areas that generate questions. Here are five of the most common and their answers. But like most things, there can be exceptions, so if in doubt always ask for help.
Are my miles earned on my credit card taxable? Taxation of any extras you earn with a credit card – including miles, discounts, even cash back – are not taxable if you had to pay to get them. Other rewards that you receive, for example a reward for signing up for a card or for referring a new cardholder, are considered taxable income per the IRS.
Does my employer contribution count towards the 401(k) limit? Your employer’s matching contributions do not count toward your maximum contribution limit, which for this year is $22,500. If you’re 50 or older, you can sock away an additional $7,500 (for a total of $30,000) this year.
What happens to loans from my retirement account if I change jobs? When you switch jobs, you must pay back any loans borrowed from your employer-sponsored retirement account within a short amount of time. If the loan isn’t paid back, the outstanding balance is considered a distribution that is subject to income taxes and an early withdrawal penalty.
Do I really need to report gifts given to people? Yes, but only if you give more than $17,000 ($34,000 if married) in 2023 to any one person. It must be reported to the IRS on a gift tax return. That’s because the IRS keeps track of gifts you’re allowed to make over the course of your lifetime, which in 2023 is $12,920,000 ($25,840,000 if married). Only after reaching this lifetime dollar amount will you need to actually make a gift tax payment.
Do I have to report a loss? You may think the IRS isn’t interested in losses you incur, such as when you sell a stock at a loss or if your business loses money. The reality is that you should always report losses on your tax return because you can use them to offset income under certain conditions. In addition, most losses can be carried forward to future years to offset income.
Have your own question? Reach out. The answer could surprise you.