New Florida Laws Affecting Your Wallet on July 1st

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 @ 11:07 AM

157 bills approved by the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott went into effect at 12:01 yesterday morning. Included among them are laws that will better track sexual offenders, allow children of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition at state universities, ban e-cigarette sales to minors, allow local school boards to choose which textbooks are used in their classrooms and redefine the state’s ban on late-term abortions.

Many of the laws that kicked in on July 1st, like the “Florida GI Bill”, the sales tax free holidays, or the bills that lower college costs and reduce the cost of motor vehicle registration fees (effective 9/1/14) may affect your pocketbook!

Concurrently, the $77 billion “election-year” budget adds new money to public schools, state colleges and universities, environmental projects and child welfare, while leaving room for about $500 million in tax and fee cuts just in time for the Governor’s re-election campaign.

HB 732 should reduce the cost of college by revamping the formula for determining what families pay for the Florida Prepaid College Program, and HB 851 rolls back the ability of state universities to increase tuition without the approval of the Florida Legislature.

This is good news because both the 4-Year Florida University Plan and “2 + 2″ Florida Plan prices will drop. The lump sum price of the 4-Year plan for a newborn is anticipated to drop nearly $20,000 from the current price-tag of $54,000 to around $35,000. Monthly payments should fall to at least $100, from $350 to about $250. Approximately 50,000 existing Prepaid Plans purchased from contract year 2011 to 2014 will see refunds and/or payment reductions because of the new law. Eligible account owners will receive notification in September regarding their specific refund and/or payment reduction information. Click HERE for more information.

HB 629 gives consumers more information about what charities are doing with their contributions, especially those that raise large amounts of money. The law increases reporting requirements for larger charities as well.

The “Florida GI Bill,” provides university tuition waivers for veterans, and is expected to help increase employment opportunities for veterans.

The Florida state sales tax rate on charges for electricity is dropping a bit, effective July 1, 2014. The tax rate for bills dated on or after that date will be 6.95%. Currently, the rate is 7%, and in some counties it is 7.5%.

On July 1st, Major League Soccer was been added to the list of sports exempt from admissions tax. Likewise, all-star events produced by the National Basketball Association and held at a facility such as an arena or convention center are exempt from Florida admissions tax.

Effective July 1, 2014, the following items will be exempt from Florida sales and use tax:

•  Bicycle helmets for youth;
•  Child restraint systems and booster seats for use in motor vehicles; and
•  Prepaid meal plans purchased from a college or other institution of higher learning by currently enrolled students.

The good news continues! Don’t forget about the upcoming 3-day back-to-school sales tax holiday on August 1st-3rd during which shoppers will not have to pay 6% sales taxes on any clothes worth $100 or less, school supplies worth $15 or less, or on the first $750 of a personal computer. There will also be a 3-day sales tax holiday on September 19th-21st for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Click HERE for more information.

Contact Colleen Tobiasson, CPA, Tax Senior, with any questions or if you need advice regarding tax planning for 2014/2015. Colleen can be reached at 954-236-8600 or colleen@fiskeco.com.

Colleen for Social Media



Crystal BurnettSee below to calculate deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:

56 cents per mile for business miles;
23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes;
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Taxpayers can also calculate actual costs of using their vehicle, rather than using the standard mileage rates. They may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.

In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

If you or your business have tax planning or compliance questions, please contact Crystal Burnett, Fiske and Company Tax Accountant, at 954-236-8600 or crystal@fiskeco.com.



2014 Withholding Tables Published

Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 11:12 AM

Colleen TobiassonThe IRS just published Notice 1036, which contains early release copies of the 2014 percentage method income tax withholding tables on www.irs.gov.

The social security tax rate will be 6.2% each for the employee and employer with a social security wage limit of $117,000. The Medicare Tax rate is 1.45% each for the employee and employer, unchanged from 2013. There is no wage base limit for Medicare Tax.

In addition to withholding the Medicare tax, employers will have to withhold a 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax from wages paid to employees in excess of $200,000 during the 2014 calendar year, beginning with the pay period in which the $200,000 threshold is crossed and continuing each pay period until the end of the calendar year. There is no employer share of the Additional Medicare Tax, it is imposed only on the employee.

For more information on what wages are subject to Medicare Tax, or more information on the Additional Medicare Tax, and the procedure for non-resident aliens, please contact Colleen Tobiasson, Fiske and Company Tax Accountant, at 954-236-8600 or colleen@fiskeco.com. Whether you are an employer or employee, she can help advise you regarding tax planning and compliance.

Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding

The wage amounts shown below are net wages after the deduction for total withholding allowances. The withholding allowance amounts by payroll period have changed. For 2014, they are:

Payroll Period                                          One Withholding Allowance

Weekly                                                        $ 76.00

Biweekly                                                       151.90

Semimonthly                                                 164.60

Monthly                                                         329.20

Quarterly                                                        987.50

Semiannually                                               1,975.00

Annually                                                      3,950.00

Daily or Misc:                                                   15.20

 

When employers use the Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding, the tax for the pay period may be rounded to the nearest dollar.

 



IRS Announces Annual Inflation Adjustments

Friday, November 1, 2013 @ 10:11 PM

For tax year 2014, the IRS announced yesterday annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes.

The tax items for tax year 2014 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts.

  1. The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $406,750 ($457,600 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $400,000 and $450,000, respectively. For the other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – contact us.
  2. The standard deduction rises to $6,200 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,400 for married couples filing jointly, up from $6,100 and $12,200, respectively, for tax year 2013. The standard deduction for heads of household rises to $9,100, up from $8,950.
  3. The limitation for itemized deductions claimed on tax year 2014 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $254,200 or more ($305,050 for married couples filing jointly).
  4. The personal exemption rises to $3,950, up from the 2013 exemption of $3,900. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $254,200 ($305,050 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $376,700 ($427,550 for married couples filing jointly.)
  5. The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2014 is $52,800 ($82,100, for married couples filing jointly). The 2013 exemption amount was $51,900 ($80,800 for married couples filing jointly).
  6. The maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,143 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,044 for tax year 2013. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phaseouts.
  7. Estates of decedents who die during 2014 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,340,000, up from a total of $5,250,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2013.
  8. The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000 for 2014.
  9. The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored healthcare flexible spending arrangements (FSA) remains unchanged at $2,500.
  10. The foreign earned income exclusion rises to $99,200 for tax year 2014, up from $97,600, for 2013.
  11. The small employer health insurance credit provides that the maximum credit is phased out based on the employer’s number of full-time equivalent employees in excess of 10 and the employer’s average annual wages in excess of $25,400 for tax year 2014, up from $25,000 for 2013.

Contact Ron Michelson, CPA, Tax Partner, or Howard Hammer, CPA, Tax Principal, at 954-236-8600, for more details on these inflation adjustments and others not listed in this release .