IRS Finalizes Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate Regulations & Penalties

08-29-2013Health Care

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations for the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

  • The final regulations largely finalize the rules proposed in February.
  • The individual mandate differs from the employer mandate, which was delayed last month until January 2015.
  • The individual mandate in contrast is still scheduled to take effect in 2014, when individuals who choose not to enroll in a health insurance program will have to pay a penalty of $95 per person per year, or 1 percent of their income, whichever is larger.
  • The individual mandate penalty will gradually increase in 2015 to $325, or 2 percent of income, and in 2016 to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is bigger.

US Healthcare Reform Delay

07-17-2013Health Care
  • The US Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that it would delay certain provisions of 2010’s health-care reform legislation until 2015 for large employers that fail to provide certain health care coverage to employees.
  • In a Treasury blog post titled, “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner,” Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur wrote that the government “will provide an additional year before the ACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.”

    What do I need to do to be wealthy?


    Yahoo! Finance Financially Fit section recently had an article talking about the habits of wealthy people based on financial planner Tom Corley’s book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.

    The tricks of the wealthy are:


    How do I manage my student loans and college debt?

    07-09-2013Children & Students

    According to the Federal Reserve, Consumer installment credit rose $19.6 billion in May 2013 to $2.8 trillion — the biggest increase in a year. Consumer debt increased for credit cards, college tuition loans and cars loans.


    What nest egg will I need to survive in retirement?


    Many of us struggle with how much cash in the bank we will need to be able to comfortably retire. Each person’s quality of life is defined so differently, that a simple mathematical equation often does not work perfectly. A recent study by Dimensional Fund Advisors provides a unique sliding scale approach that is worth evaluating.


    Student Loan Interest Rates Double Today

    07-01-2013Children & Students

    Starting Monday, July 1, 2013, approximately 7 million students who will accept subsidized government loans will see their interest rates double to 6.8%. The higher rates that go into effect on July 1 only apply to new loans. These loans are generally awarded to only about a third of undergraduate students in financial need.

    Undergraduates, who take out unsubsidized student loans from the government, have been paying the 6.8% rate since 2007.


    Tax Court Ruling May Affect Real Estate Professionals

    06-21-2013Tax Information

    The Tax Court (Hofinga, TC Summ. Op. 2013-43) recently reiterated that real estate pros have to satisfy two time tests to deduct their rental losses in full:

    • They must spend over half of their working hours; and
    • They must spend at least 750 hours per year materially involved in real estate as a developer, broker, landlord or the like.

    Although a contemporaneous logbook that documents the number of hours worked is not required, real estate professionals still must have calendar entries or similar evidence to validate their time, or their losses will be passive. Real estate professionals can be exempt from the passive loss rules; but they need proof that they’ve met the time tests.

    Virtual currency may create tax problems

    06-18-2013Tax Information

    With the explosion of online activity in recent years and the creation of virtual currencies, lawmakers are becoming increasingly concerned about how those actions, sometimes taking place in economies that exist entirely within a specific program, might impair the abilities of the IRS to collect what’s due.

    Mixed and open systems users are able to turn a virtual currency or good into something with real-world value, or even U.S. dollars (which could create a taxable item.). “Closed-flow” currencies probably do not come with a tax issue because the virtual currency exists entirely within a virtual setting and cannot be used to obtain real goods and services or turned into U.S. dollars.