What is the Net Investment Income Tax

Understanding the Net Investment Income Tax

It’s been around since 2013, but many are still struggling to come to grips with the net investment income tax. The 3.8% tax, which is sometimes referred to as the Medicare surtax on net investment income, affected approximately 3.1 million federal income tax returns for 2013 (the only year for which data is available) to the tune of almost $11.7 billion.1 Here’s what you need to know.

What is it?

The net investment income tax is a 3.8% “extra” tax that applies to certain investment income in addition to any other income tax due. Whether you’re subject to the tax depends on two general factors: the amount of your modified adjusted gross income for the year, and how much net investment income you have.

What income thresholds apply?

Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is basically adjusted gross income–the amount that shows up on line … Read More

The Viagra College Fund Phenomenon

Mary Beth Franklin (contributing editor for investmentnews.com) published an interesting piece recently. In it, she describes a Social Security benefit strategy which she titles The Viagra College Fund.

This college fund strategy applies to retirement age fathers with children who are still minors. These children can be your natural children, adopted children or dependent stepchildren.

The first step of the strategy is for you to reach the official retirement age. Once you hit full retirement age, your earnings cap is removed and you can continue to work without lowering your benefits. You are also allowed to postpone filing, electing to suspend your Social Security benefits instead.

If you have a child who is a minor, your suspension will automatically trigger a monthly payment for your dependent. This payment is worth 50% of the full retirement benefit you would receive.

To further improve the situation, the payments received by your dependent do … Read More

Misunderstood Facts about Social Security

Throughout 2014, the government will pay almost $863 billion of Social Security benefits to over 59 million Americans. According to the Social Security website (SSA.gov), “Among elderly beneficiaries, 52% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.” Social Security benefits can provide a substantial amount of your retirement funds. However, many individuals struggle to grasp the basic details about this program. Some of the most commonly misconstrued facts are listed below.
First, Americans fail to understand that official retirement does not begin at age 65. Retirement ages vary slightly based on the year in which you were born. If you were born between 1934 and 1954 you can retire at age 66. If you were born after 1960, the full retirement age increases to 67.
Second, people do not realize that there is no requirement for you to be a citizen … Read More