RMR Wealth Management Blog

2013 IRS Retirement Contribution Limits posted by Ryan C. Rogers, RMR Wealth Management, LLC

RMR Wealth Management - Monday, October 22, 2012

 

IRS Announces 2013 Pension Plan Limitations; Taxpayers May Contribute Up to $17,500 to Their 401(k) Plans in 2013

IR-2012-77, Oct. 18, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2013. In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2013 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged because the increase in the index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. Highlights include:

  • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $17,000 to $17,500.
  • The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $5,500.
  • The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) rises to $5,500, up from $5,000 in prior years.
  • The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $59,000 and $69,000, up from $58,000 and $68,000 in 2012. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $95,000 to $115,000, up from $92,000 to $112,000. For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $178,000 and $188,000, up from $173,000 and $183,000.
  • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $178,000 to $188,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $173,000 to $183,000 in 2012. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $112,000 to $127,000, up from $110,000 to $125,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.
  • The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $59,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $57,500 in 2012; $44,250 for heads of household, up from $43,125; and $29,500 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $28,750.

Below are details on both the unchanged and adjusted limitations.

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. Section 415(d) requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost-of-living increases. Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415. Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made pursuant to adjustment procedures which are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.

The limitations that are adjusted by reference to Section 415(d) generally will change for 2013 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. For example, the limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $17,000 to $17,500 for 2013. This limitation affects elective deferrals to Section 401(k) plans, Section 403(b) plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan.

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $200,000 to $205,000. For a participant who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2013, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant's compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2012, by 1.0170.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased in 2013 from $50,000 to $51,000.

The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2013 are as follows:

The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $17,000 to $17,500.

The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C) and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $250,000 to $255,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan remains unchanged at $165,000.

The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5-year distribution period is increased from $1,015,000 to $1,035,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5‑year distribution period is increased from $200,000 to $205,000.

The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) remains unchanged at $115,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $5,500. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $2,500.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost-of-living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $375,000 to $380,000.

The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $550.

The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts is increased from $11,500 to $12,000.

The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $17,000 to $17,500.

The compensation amount under Section 1.61-21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation purposes remains unchanged at $100,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61‑21(f)(5)(iii) remains unchanged at $205,000.

The Code also provides that several pension-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2013 are as follows:

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $34,500 to $35,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $37,500 to $38,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $57,500 to $59,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $25,875 to $26,625; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $28,125 to $28,875; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $43,125 to $44,250.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $17,250 to $17,750; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $18,750 to $19,250; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $28,750 to $29,500.

The deductible amount under Section 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions is increased from $5,000 to $5,500.

The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $92,000 to $95,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $58,000 to $59,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $173,000 to $178,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $173,000 to $178,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $110,000 to $112,000.

The dollar amount under Section 430(c)(7)(D)(i)(II) used to determine excess employee compensation with respect to a single-employer defined benefit pension plan for which the special election under Section 430(c)(2)(D) has been made is increased from $1,039,000 to $1,066,000.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 2012-10-22

 

Gift & Estate Tax Opportunity Set to Expire By Ryan C. Rogers, RMR Wealth Management

RMR Wealth Management - Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gift & Estate Tax Opportunity Set to Expire By Ryan C. Rogers, RMR Wealth Management

Unknown to many, the temporary two year feature of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Authorization Act of 2010 is about to expire.  This feature increased the federal gift and estate tax applicable exclusion amount in 2011 to $5,000,000.00 per person ($10,000,000.00 per married  couple).  In addition, the tax rate on gifts exceeding that amount was reduced to 35%.  Since this feature was indexed for inflation, the amount per person has increased to $5,120,000.00 ($10,240,000 per married couple) for 2012. 

 

Unless Congress acts, this lifetime gift tax exemption will drop to $1,000,000.00 on January 1, 2013.  Moreover, the tax rate on gifts exceeding that amount will jump from 35% to 55%.  For wealthy individuals, time is running out to make gifts that in all likelihood  will reduce estate taxes in the future.

 

Many estate planning professionals are concerned about the fourth quarter year end rush of clients looking for guidance on this topic.  I encourage anyone interested in this exemption to contact me as soon as possible to discuss your options with my estate planning experts.

 

Ryan Rogers

RMR Wealth Management

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RMR Wealth Management - Thursday, April 12, 2012
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New York Times Op-Ed By Greg Smith formerly of Goldman Sachs.......Ringing Endorsement of Independent Wealth Management?

RMR Wealth Management - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

 

March 14, 2012 NYT

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

 

TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.

When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.

Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.

How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.

When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.

My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.

Greg Smith is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Retire Comfortably and Remain Comfortably Retired

RMR Wealth Management - Monday, February 20, 2012
Do you know how much you need to retire comfortably and remain comfortably retired?  With so many options, how do you know which one is right for you?  What does your retirement plan look like?  It is tax season, the time of year individuals are looking to minimize taxes.  Every year you have the opportunity to contribute to a retirement plan.  Considering the prevailing economic conditions, we can’t rely on social security, pensions, etc… In order to keep the same lifestyle in retirement you need to save 20-25% of your income.

Traditional IRA
-    $5,000 maximum contribution
-    Pre-tax dollars
-    Eligible contributions are deductible and grow tax deferred; taxes paid upon distribution
-    Catch-up contribution of $1,000 ($6,000 Total) for individuals, age 50 and older.
-    No loans available
-    RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) at age 70 ½ ; cannot make any contributions at age 70 ½ or older

Roth IRA
-    $5,000 maximum contribution
-    After-tax dollars
-    Eligible contributions grow tax deferred; tax free distributions
-    Catch-up contributions of $1,000 for individuals, age 50 and older
-    No loans available
-    NO RMD’s required; you can make contributions after you reach age 70 ½


Plans for Self Employed Individuals and Owners:

SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension)
-    $49,000(2011) $50,000(2012) maximum contribution or 25% of your net income
-    Pre-tax dollars
-    Eligible contributions are deductible and grow tax deferred; taxes paid upon distribution
-    No catch-up contributions available
-    No loans available
-    Complete form 5305-SEP

Individual (k)
-    $50,000 (2012) maximum contribution
-    Pre-tax dollars
-    Eligible contributions are deductible and grow tax deferred; taxes paid upon distribution
-    Catch-up contributions of $5,500 for individuals, age 50 and older
-    Access to loans

Difference Between SEP IRA & Individual (k) Contributions

Maximum Total Contributions? (*1)            
                    
Business Net Profits     $50,000     $100,000     $150,000     
SEP IRA        $9,294     $18,587     $28,389     
Individual (k) (*2)        $25,793     $35,587     $44,773     
                    
*1 Maximum contribution amounts assume an individual is not participating in other retirement plans
*2 Individual (k) contribution limits are %5,500 higher if you are over 50 years of age

Single Defined Benefit
-    Ideal for individuals who wish to contribute more than the maximum allowed in an Individual (k) for at least a few years
-    Maximum contributions up to $195,000 for 2011 ($200,000 2012)
-    Pre-tax dollars
-    Contributions are calculated by an actuary based on the benefit you set and other factors (your age, net income, expected returns on plan investments, etc.)

Experts say only 22% of retirees have an income plan.
-    78% have no plan
-    11% established a plan before retirement
-    11% created a plan when retired

Are you ready for retirement?  Having the right retirement plan is critical for any long term plan.  What are the advantages/disadvantages of each retirement structure?  Which one is right for you?  Please contact me to go over all of your options.  Don’t be in the category of the 78% of Americans.  Be Proactive, Get Educated!

Call RMR Wealth Management today to schedule a retirement reality check.

“Retire Comfortably and Remain Comfortably Retired”

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