With so many changes looming for 2013, it’s easy to forget that there were some significant tweaks to the Tax Code for 2012. Here’s a list of eleven changes to keep in mind before you file your 2012 tax return, due April 15, 2013:
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1. Payroll tax credit will still affect self-employed taxpayers. The expiration of the payroll tax credit for 2013 was big news – but don’t forget that the credit was still in place for 2012. While that means nothing for employees subject to withholding (no additional breaks on your federal income tax return since you’ve already received the benefit of the payroll tax credit in your withholding), if you were self-employed you will receive an adjustment on your self-employment (SE) taxes when you file your federal income tax return. Your SE tax will be reduced by 2%; the SE tax rate of 12.4% is reduced to 10.4%.
2. Forms W-2 have more information this year. Under the Affordable Health Care Act, most employers are required to report the value of health care benefits received by an employee on a 2012 federal form W-2 (a few small businesses are still exempt from reporting under the transitional relief offered by IRS). The amount will be reported in box 12 with Code DD and should include both the portion paid by the employer as well as any amount paid in by an employee. Even though it appears on a W-2, this amount remains federal income tax free for 2012.
3. Roth Conversions May Be Taxable. Taxpayers who converted or rolled over amounts to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to include the entire amount in income in 2010 may need to report half of that taxable income on their 2012 returns. Favorable tax treatment made conversions in 2010 more appealing than normal: specifically, taxpayers had a three year window to pay the taxes due. That window expires with tax year 2012.
4. Relief For Underwater Taxpayers. With record numbers of taxpayers in foreclosure, Congress enacted the Mortgage Forgiveness and Debt Relief Act of 2007 to provide limited tax relief for taxpayers facing financial difficulties. Under the Act, qualified homeowners who were forced into foreclosure or mortgage restructuring on a principal residence could exclude income of up to million (