2018 Tax Update w/ [Commentary]

The maximum contribution for 401(k) plans is rising to $18,500 in 2018, up from $18,000 in 2017 — this also applies to 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. The catch-up contribution for those age 50 and up remains $6,000 for all of these plans.

Who Qualifies for a Roth

The IRS also increased the maximum earnings allowed by those who can a Roth IRA  to $120,000 to $135,000 for singles and heads of household, and $189,000 to $199,000 for married couples filing jointly; these ranges are $2,000 and $3,000 higher than 2017 respectively.

[I personally don’t like these QRPs or qualified retirement plans (Roth-IRA, Solo 401ks, etc) if you are an active real estate investor. If you are conservatively using prudent leverage and finding decent deals there is no reason you should not be able to retire in 10 years or less and thus negating the very reason for these accounts. 

When you have money in these accounts it sounds good that you are not taxed on gains but you are restricted from getting a Fannie Mae loan. Using the QRP loans get you the second tier financing options, for example, a Roth IRA can buy real estate on leverage, however, will need a non-recourse loan which is often a fraction high-interest rate and lower LTV. No Bueno!

Caveat: If you are late to the game and already have a fat 401k then you should convert it to a solo401k. At that point, you should think about putting it into a syndication since you are restricted on how you can leverage it.]

Transit and Parking

The other types of benefit that has changed is pre-tax payments for transit passes and parking fees; it’s risen by $5 a month, to $260 a month. [These are the scarcity mindset things that are confusing]

Otherwise, other changes for 2018 include deductions, exemptions and income tax credits.

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Student Loans

The maximum deduction for interest on student loans remains $2,500. Eligibility for the deduction starts phasing out with individual incomes surpassing $65,000 and joint return incomes exceeding $135,000. Taxpayers become completely ineligible when they pass $80,000 and $165,000 respectively.

Deductions in 2018

Single taxpayers and married couples filing separately get a standard deduction of $6,500 in 2018, up from $6,350 in 2017.

The standard deduction is $13,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $12,700 in the prior year; and for heads of households, the standard deduction is $9,550, up from $9,350 in 2017.

The standard deduction for a taxpayer who can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer is a maximum of whichever figure is greater: $1,050 or $350 plus the dependent’s earned income.

The additional standard deduction for the aged and blind is $1,300. The additional standard deduction for unmarried taxpayers is $1,600.

[Expenses for your real estate business are above the line expenses Whoohoo]

Penalties [A cost of doing business]

This year’s penalties for not having health insurance — and not having a waiver or exemption — remains the same as 2017: 2.5% of your adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to a maximum of $2,085, whichever is higher.

The IRS continues to impose the penalty of revoking passports for anyone with serious tax delinquencies, and the threshold for that is $51,000 in tax year 2018. [For many of you have that have visions of living abroad parts of the year]

Estate and Gift Taxes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the amount of money that married couples can pass to each other without taxes goes up to $5.6 million per individual, up from $5.49 million in 2017. Note that the term estate tax is often misunderstood by the media to include heirs other than children when that isn’t always the case.

[Things that I ponder for myself is if I should put more money into my Health Saving Account. I believe you are going to have health expenses before you ever spend a retirement dollar so you should fill this bucket first. I don’t screw around with any Qualified Retirement Plans] 

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