Working in Retirement Often is More a Dream Than Reality

Many workers are staying on the job longer or plan to before going into their golden years.

More retirees said they retired at ages 66-69, rising from 11% in 2021 to 14% in 2022, according to the latest annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald Research.

And 7 in 10 workers expect to work for pay as a source of their retirement income, and 1 in 5 are counting on it as a major source, according to the EBRI poll. A growing percentage of workers say they will never retire – 15% in 2022, up from 10% in 2021, according to the EBRI survey.

Unfortunately, expectations of working in retirement can backfire. For workers who plan to work in some fashion for pay after they retire, that desire still appears to be more of a nice notion than a reality. Only 27% of retirees have employment income, according to the EBRI poll.

‘Sad commentary that health insurance has to be such a big factor’

That desire to remain employed is backed up by other recent surveys. More than half of workers (57%) plan to work in retirement citing a variety of reasons ranging from the income to keeping their brains alert, or the social connection, according to the most recent study by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

The specter of soaring medical costs alone is stomach-churning. The average couple age 65 retiring this year and enrolled in Medicare may need approximately $315,000 saved (after tax) to cover healthcare expenses in retirement, according to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate.

That’s what motivated Russ Eanes, an author, to get back in the workforce after retiring five years ago from his job as chief executive at MennoMedia, a book publisher. A year ago, he went back to work at GetSetUp, an interactive website that delivers virtual education to older adults.

The impetus: A steady paycheck and access to a health insurance plan.

“It’s a sad commentary that health insurance has to be such a big factor in these decisions,” Eanes told Yahoo Money.. “I’m on Medicare as of February, but my wife is a year behind, so we have to scramble to figure out how to have her covered for another year. While I was making out okay as a freelancer, it can be feast or famine.”

Older workers are not always ‘proactive’

But getting back to work or staying employed is not always easy, and in some cases, it can be the workers themselves who short-change their ability to stay on the job longer.

“Many 50+ workers are not proactive about taking steps to help ensure they can work as long as they want and need,” Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, told Yahoo Money. “Among those employed by for-profit companies, our research showed that only 62 % are focused on staying healthy so they can continue working and just 44% are keeping their job skills up to date.”

Only a small percentage are networking and meeting new people (16%), taking classes to learn new skills (12%), scoping out the employment market and opportunities available (10 %), attending virtual conferences and webinars (9%), or obtaining a new degree, certification, or professional designation (5 %), Collinson said.

Meantime, more than 2 in 5 workers expect a gradual transition to retirement, according to the EBRI survey.

In reality, “only a fraction of companies offer employees the option of a phased retirement,” Collinson said. “Our most recent employer survey finds 27% of employers offer a formal phased retirement program.”

Forced retirements

Even more troubling– nearly half of retirees retired earlier than they planned.

“Back-to-work plans can be upended by unexpected health challenges and caregiving demands,” Nancy Collamer, a retirement coach and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement,” told Yahoo Money.

The median expected retirement age for workers — age 65 — and the reported retirement age of retirees —age 62, according to the EBRI survey. Two-thirds said their early retirement was for a reason out of their control, such as a health problem or disability, company downsizing or reorganizations, or caregiving for a loved one.

Some of those reasons were amplified by the pandemic.

Since March 2020, 1.1 million more Americans between the ages of 55 and 74 retired earlier than what would have been expected during normal times, according to a recent report from The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. The number of those who retired involuntarily a year after losing a job was 10 times higher than pre-pandemic times, the report found.

‘Beginning to feel the impact of inflation’

This trend may be shifting. As of March 2022, 3.2% of workers who were retired just one year ago are now employed again, according to research by Nick Bunker, the director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab.

One caveat: while the EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey was conducted as the inflation rate had already begun its rapid rise, and at that time, the majority of workers and retirees reported being confident that they had enough money to keep up with inflation in retirement, the economic picture is grimmer now.

With the inflation rate at 8.3% in April of 2022, down slightly from 8.5% in March, which was the highest since December of 1981, and the S&P 500 index off its January peak by 16.6%, that exuberance may be fading.

“Some workers are beginning to feel the impact of inflation, and the number is likely to grow,” Copeland said. “How the economy evolves over the next few months is likely to result in workers reconsidering where they stand regarding retirement. If inflation continues at historic rates and the stock market continues falling, more workers will be reevaluating their retirement plans.”

By:

Kerry is a Senior Columnist and Senior Reporter at Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon

Source: Working in retirement often is more a dream than reality

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How To Build Back Your Emergency Fund In a Tight Budget

Emergency funds are  important should you be faced with an unforeseen setback like a sudden job loss, an unexpected car repair or a serious medical situation. If you tapped into or depleted your emergency savings during the pandemic, it’s vital to set a financial goal to rebuild an emergency fund. Experts suggest having enough money for six months of living expenses in an emergency fund.

Even if your budget is tight, there are ways to stash some cash each month toward emergency savings. “It may seem difficult to set aside savings when you are on a tight budget, but you have to think about it as having no other choice,” said Dawit Kebede, a senior economist for the Credit Union National Association, which advocates on behalf of America’s credit unions.

Why is an emergency fund so important to have?

Your emergency fund allows you to pay for unexpected expenses, like providing a cushion if you lose your job or face sudden financial obligations. If you don’t have savings, you may have to rely on credit cards.

“Most people rely on high-interest rate credit cards to pay for unforeseen expenses, which leaves them in debt,” said Kebede. “Creating an emergency fund avoids relying on debt to absorb a financial shock.”

Pay yourself first

Kebede noted that people tend to put saving at the bottom of their priorities when they have fewer resources. So make building an emergency fund a priority.

“Understand that savings cannot be the lowest priority on your budget,” Kebede said. “You have to pay yourself first, even if it’s $15 a month. Setting goals and setting aside something, however small it may be, will go a long way. It will accumulate over time.”

Set a reasonable monthly goal, even when there’s little wiggle room.

Commit to putting bonus cash in your savings

If you get any extra money during the month, even if it’s a small amount, earmark it for your emergency fund.

“When building out your emergency fund for the first time or rebuilding following a major emergency expense, it’s okay to start with small contributions, and any tax refunds, gifts or extra cash are all great ways to contribute,” said Ryan Ball, vice president of market experience at Capital One. “Having a small amount in your account is more helpful than nothing at all in the preparedness for an emergency.”

Set up a save schedule

If you get paid twice a month, for example, create a plan to take a set amount and transfer it directly to your emergency savings account. Even if your budget is tight, pick a small amount and devote it to savings. “When contributing to your emergency fund, the best practice is to contribute to your account regularly and setting a schedule can help,” advised Ball.

To force savings, Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, advised automating your savings with a direct deposit from your paycheck into a dedicated savings account. “The savings happens first without having to think about it,” McBride said.

Another option, McBride explained, especially for the self-employed, is to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account at a regular interval, such as once per month or every two weeks.

How can you force yourself to save without it seeming like a punishment?

First, accept the mindset that savings should be viewed as deferred spending for important or unexpected items rather than a punishment, said Kebede. Next, take an inventory of your spending habits. Can you cancel monthly subscriptions you’re not using?

Can you reduce takeout meals or the amount you’re spending on extras like dining out or paying for coffee every morning? Can you carpool to save on gas or stick to your grocery list by meal planning in advance?

“Setting aside a small amount regularly helps you feel that you haven’t sacrificed a lot, and watching your savings slowly accumulate will also provide motivation for you to continue,” Kebede said.

Use your banking institution’s resources

Your bank may have resources available to assist you to promote financial wellness and education.

For example, Ball noted that Capital One has resources, including its complimentary Money & Life Program, that helps participants build a plan to achieve their goals in life and think through how their financial behaviors connect to those goals.

“In addition to Money & Life mentoring sessions with a professional mentor, we offer a self-guided Money & Life exercise, ‘Map Your Spend,’ that can help participants visualize their spending and figure out where they can make changes to put a little extra money per month away for an emergency fund,” he said.

Contact your bank or visit a retail location to inquire about what mentoring services may be available.

Source: How to build back your emergency fund in a tight budget | Fox Business

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How Much Liquidity Does Your Portfolio Need During Ages 30, 40, 50, 60+

The global market’s volatility and increasing inflation is likely a cause for concern as you manage your portfolio.  With these challenges, it’s advisable to incorporate liquidity into your planning.

Liquidity is described as the amount of cash you can readily access, or how quickly you can convert assets to cash. The need for liquidity can vary depending on your age and risk tolerance, and short and long term financial goals. We’ve asked financial experts for their advice about how to plan your liquidity strategy as you age.

Liquid emergency savings for unforeseen life events

According to financial experts, you should have about six months of liquid living expenses set aside in an emergency fund, if you encounter a job loss, experience a medical emergency or have a sudden expense like a car repair.

“At any age we recommend an emergency fund in cash or cash investments to cover roughly six-month expenditures.”

“At any age we recommend an emergency fund in cash or cash investments to cover roughly six-month expenditures,” says Rob Williams, CFP®, CRPC®, managing director, financial planning, retirement income and wealth management, Schwab Center for Financial Research. “They can cover a one-time surprise expense or tide you over if you have an illness, change jobs, or have another expense, to help avoid the need to sell investments.”

How your age factors in on your liquidity path

According to Williams, investors aged 30 to their early 60s and still working and who do not need money from their portfolio soon could start with around 5% of their portfolio in cash and cash investments, based on the time horizon and risk tolerance.

And, for investors nearing retirement, when they may need to start tapping their portfolio, or another goal, such as paying for a child’s education, may want to hold a higher proportion in cash and cash investments in their portfolio, Williams says.

“We suggest, generally, that investors hold the next year of money that they may need to withdraw from a portfolio, to pay for a goal or expense in cash or cash investments.”

“We suggest, generally, that investors hold the next year of money they may need to withdraw from a portfolio, to pay for a goal or expense, in cash or cash investments,” Williams explains. “This is a good guideline, to determine how much you might want to hold based not just on your age, but your goals as well.”

How goals can influence your decade-by-decade liquidity decisions

John Pilkington, CFP, senior financial advisor with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, also recommends setting aside 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, and, given an individual’s or couple’s lifestyle and financial goals, he advises to consider how liquid reserves fit into a broader financial plan.

“For example, if someone is in their early 40s and is planning a significant purchase, such as a vacation property, in the near future, they will have significantly higher liquidity needs than someone of the same age who is only saving for longer term goals,” he says.

Other factors that can impact your need for liquidity could be financing a child’s education or creating a retirement plan.

“Typically, those in their 30s and 40s have competing financial goals – think paying down a mortgage, student loans, saving for children’s future college expenses, saving for retirement – and therefore have a higher need for liquidity should they need to tap funds amid planning other financial obligations,” Pilkington says.

As he mentioned,  a challenge that many in these 30s to 40s decades face is the ability to create liquid reserves, as their competing goals are co-existing among higher debt burdens.

“This audience can benefit from looking at alternative sources of liquidity – such as a home equity line of credit, tapping a Roth IRA, or a personal loan,” adds Pilkington.

Source: How much liquidity does your portfolio need during ages 30, 40, 50, 60+ ? | Fox Business

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Critics:

Liquidity becomes even more critical to consider in the context of an investor’s financial goals. For most, goals can be described most simply as certain amounts of money needed at particular points in time. However, when the time comes, investors will likely need to fund their goals in the form of cash, rather than in the form of financial securities or art.

Of course, exceptions exist for example, a charitable donation of stock or repurposing a piece of real estate investment property to serve as a retirement home. Your financial advisor has the tools and resources to incorporate your financial goals into your long-term plan. To illustrate this, consider a goal of funding a child’s university education. For most, this involves multiple payments of cash over the course of a few years at some point in the future.

When the tuition due-date nears, the portfolio of securities would likely need to become less risky, more stable, more liquid, and more accessible in order to ensure the tuition payment clears. The graph below depicts a hypothetical example of how the cash required over the child’s age increases as he approaches his college education years – requiring strategic planning for liquidity needs.

Especially in the case of relatively large financial goals such as funding higher-education, the chances that your goals become a reality can be improved by starting early, having a long-term focus, and putting a plan in place with your financial advisor.

More contents:

Liquidity – Dictionary Definition of Liquidity”. About.com Education. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

Keynes, John Maynard. A Treatise on Money. Vol. 2. p. 67.

TradeLive”. TradeLive.in. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

The Performance of Liquidity in the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” (PDF). New Political Economy. 15 (1): 71-89. doi:10.1080/13563460903553624. S2CID 153899413.

Mifid ushers in a new era of trading”. Financial Times. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

Understanding Financial Liquidity”. Investopedia.com. Investopedia US. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2014.

Why Stocks Are Rising: It’s The Liquidity, Stupid!”. Yahoo Finance. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014.

Liquidity: Finance in motion or evaporation”, lecture by Michael Mainelli at Gresham College, 5 September 2007 (available for download as an audio or video file, as well as a text file)

The role of time-critical liquidity in financial markets by David Marshall and Robert Steigerwald (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Financial market utilities and the challenge of just-in-time liquidity

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Do You Have To Pay Capital Gains Tax On a Home Sale?

Your home is likely your life’s biggest and proudest purchase: all the painstaking measures you took—countless property searches, contract negotiations, inspections, and closing—to arrive at the dream of homeownership. Now, it’s time to sell. What next?pr

Did you know that your home is considered a capital asset, subject to capital gains tax? If your home has appreciated in value, you could be required to pay taxes on the profit.

However, thanks to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, most homeowners are exempt. If you are single, you will pay no capital gains tax on the first $250,000 of profit (excess over cost basis). Married couples enjoy a $500,000 exemption. There are, however, some restrictions.

Key Takeaways

You can sell your primary residence and be exempt from capital gains taxes on the first $250,000 if you are single and $500,000 if married filing jointly. This exemption is only allowable once every two years.

You can add your cost basis and costs of any improvements that you made to the home to the $250,000 if single or $500,000 if married filing jointly. How Much Is Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate? To be exempt, the home must be considered a primary residency based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. These rules state that you must have occupied the residence for at least two of the last five years.

If you buy a home and a dramatic rise in value causes you to sell it a year later, you would be required to pay capital gains tax. If you’ve owned your home for at least two years and meet the primary residence rules, you may owe tax on the profit if it exceeds IRS thresholds. Single people can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain, and married people filing a joint return can exclude up to $500,000 of the gain.

Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income, with rates as high as 37% for high-income earners; long-term capital gains tax rates are 0%, 15%, 20%, or 28%, with rates applied according to income and tax filing status.

This rule even allows you to convert a rental property into a primary residence, because the two-year residency requirement does not need to be fulfilled in consecutive years. The 2-in-5-year rule For taxpayers with more than one home, a key point is determining which is the primary residence.

The IRS allows the exclusion on only one’s primary residence, but there is some leeway in just which home qualifies. The two-in-five-year rule comes into play. Simply put, this means that during the previous five years, if you lived in a home for a total of two years, or 730 days, that can qualify as your primary residence. The 24 months do not have to be in a particular block of time. However, for married taxpayers filing jointly, each spouse must meet the rule.

How the Capital Gains Tax Works with Homes

Suppose you purchase a new condo for $300,000. You live in it for the first year, rent the home for the next three years, and when the tenants move out, you move in for another year. After five years, you sell the condo for $450,000. No capital gains tax is due because the profit ($450,000 – $300,000 = $150,000) does not exceed the exclusion amount. Consider an alternative ending in which home values in your area increased exponentially.

In this scenario, you sell the condo for $600,000. Capital gains tax is due on $50,000 ($300,000 profit – $250,000 IRS exclusion). If your income falls in the $40,400–$441,450 range, your capital gains tax rate as a single person is 15% in 2021.5 (The income range rises slightly, to the $41,675–$459,750 range, for 2022.)6 If you have capital losses elsewhere, you can offset the capital gains from the sale of the house by those losses, and up to $3,000 of those losses from other taxable income.

2022 Long-term Capital Gains Rates
Filing Status 0% Tax Rate 15% Tax Rate 20% Tax Rate
Single < $41,675 $41,675 to $459,750 > $459,750
Married filing jointly < $83,350 $83,350 to $517,200 > $517,200
Married filing separately < $41,675 $41,675 to $258,600 > $258,600
Head of household < $55,800 $55,800 to $488,500 > $488,500

Applicable to the Sale of a Principal Residence

2022 Long-term Capital Gains Rates
Filing Status 0% Tax Rate 15% Tax Rate 20% Tax Rate
Single < $41,675 $41,675 to $459,750 > $459,750
Married filing jointly < $83,350 $83,350 to $517,200 > $517,200
Married filing separately < $41,675 $41,675 to $258,600 > $258,600
Head of household < $55,800 $55,800 to $488,500 > $488,500

Applicable to the Sale of a Principal Residence Requirements and Restrictions If you meet the eligibility requirements of the IRS, you’ll be able to sell the home free of capital gains tax. However, there are exceptions to the eligibility requirements, which are outlined on the IRS website.The main major restriction is that you can only benefit from this exemption once every two years. Therefore, if you have two homes and lived in both for at least two of the last five years, you won’t be able to sell both of them tax free.

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 significantly changed the implications of home sales in a beneficial way for homeowners. Before the act, sellers had to roll the full value of a home sale into another home within two years to avoid paying capital gains tax. However, this is no longer the case, and the proceeds of the sale can be used in any way that the seller sees fit. When Is a Home Sale Fully Taxable? Not everyone can take advantage of the capital gains exclusions. Gains from a home sale are fully taxable when:

  • The home is not the seller’s principal residence
  • The property was acquired through a 1031 exchange (more on that below) within five years
  • The seller is subject to expatriate taxes
  • The property was not owned and used as the seller’s principal residence for at least two of the last five years prior to the sale (some exceptions apply)
  • The seller sold another home within two years from the date of the sale and used the capital gains exclusion for that sale

Example of Capital Gains Tax on a Home Sale Consider the following example: Susan and Robert, a married couple, purchased a home for $500,000 in 2015. Their neighborhood experienced tremendous growth, and home values increased significantly. Seeing an opportunity to reap the rewards of this surge in home prices, they sold their home in 2020 for $1.2 million. The capital gains from the sale were $700,000.As a married couple filing jointly, they were able to exclude $500,000 of the capital gains, leaving $200,000 subject to capital gains tax. Their combined income places them in the 20% tax bracket. Therefore, their capital gains tax was $40,000.

How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax on Home Sales Want to lower the tax bill on the sale of your home? There are ways to reduce what you owe or avoid taxes on the sale of your property. If you own and have lived in your home for two of the last five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married people filing jointly) of the gain from taxes.

Adjustments to the cost basis can also help reduce the gain. Your cost basis can be increased by including fees and expenses associated with the purchase of the home, home improvements, and additions. The resulting increase in the cost basis thereby reduces the capital gains.Also, capital losses from other investments can be used to offset the capital gains from the sale of your home. Large losses can even be carried forward to subsequent tax years.

Let’s explore other ways to reduce or avoid capital gains taxes on home sales. Use 1031 Exchanges to Avoid Taxes Homeowners can avoid paying taxes on the sale of their home by reinvesting the proceeds from the sale into a similar property through a 1031 exchange. This like-for-like exchange—named after Internal Revenue Code Section 1031—allows for the exchange of like property with no other consideration or like property including other considerations, such as cash.

The 1031 exchange allows for the tax on the gain from the sale of a property to be deferred, rather than eliminated.Owners—including corporations, individuals, trust, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs)—of investment and business properties can take advantage of the 1031 exchange when exchanging business or investment properties for those of like kind.The properties subject to the 1031 exchange must be for business or investment purposes, not for personal use.

The party to the 1031 exchange must identify in writing replacement properties within 45 days from the sale and must complete the exchange for a property comparable to that in the notice within 180 days from the sale.9Since executing a 1031 exchange can be a complex process, there are advantages to working with a reputable, full-service 1031 exchange company.

Given their scale, these services generally cost less than attorneys who charge by the hour. A firm that has an established track record in working with these transactions can help you avoid costly missteps and ensure that your 1031 exchange meets the requirements of the tax code. Convert Your Second Home into Your Primary Residence Capital gains exclusions are attractive to many homeowners, so much so that they may try to maximize its use throughout their lifetime.

Because gains on non-primary residences and rental properties do not have the same exclusions, more people have sought clever ways to reduce their capital gains tax on the sale of their properties. One way to accomplish this is to convert a second home or rental property to a primary residence.

A homeowner can make their second home as their primary residence for two years before selling and take advantage of the IRS capital gains tax exclusion. However, stipulations apply. Deductions for depreciation on gains earned prior to May 6, 1997, will not be considered in the exclusion.10According to the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008, a rental property converted to a primary residence can only have the capital gains exclusion during the term in which the property was used as a principal residence.

The capital gains are allocated to the entire period of ownership. While serving as a rental property, the allocated portion falls under non-qualifying use and is not eligible for the exclusion.10To prevent someone from taking advantage of the 1031 exchange and capital gains exclusion, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 stipulates that the exclusion applies if the exchanged property had been held for at least five years after the exchange.12An IRS memo explains how the sale of a second home could be shielded from the full capital gains tax, but the hurdles are high.

It would have to be investment property exchanged for another investment property. The taxpayer has to have owned the property for two full years, it has to have been rented to someone for a fair rental rate for at least 14 days in each of the previous two years, and it cannot have been used for personal use for 14 days or 10 percent of the time it was otherwise rented, whichever is greater for the previous 12 months.In short, if it’s a vacation home, it’s not your primary residence and it’s not an investment property, then its sale is subject to capital gains taxes.

How Installment Sales Lower Taxes Realizing a large profit at the sale of an investment is the dream. However, the corresponding tax on the sale may not be. For owners of rental properties and second homes, there is a way to reduce the tax impact. To reduce taxable income, the property owner might choose an installment sale option, in which part of the gain is deferred over time. A specific payment is generated over the term specified in the contract.

Each payment consists of principal, gain, and interest, with the principal representing the nontaxable cost basis and interest taxed as ordinary income. The fractional portion of the gain will result in a lower tax than the tax on a lump-sum return of gain. How long the property owner held the property will determine how it’s taxed: long-term or short-term capital gains.
How Real Estate Taxes Work Taxes for most purchases are assessed on the price of the item being bought.

The same is true for real estate. State and local governments levy real estate or property taxes on real properties; these collected taxes help pay for public services, projects, schools, and more.Real estate taxes are ad valorem taxes, which are taxes assessed against the value of the home and the land it sits on. It is not assessed on the cost basis—what was paid for it. The real estate tax is calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the assessed value of the property. Tax rates vary across jurisdictions and can change, as can the assessed value of the property. However, some exemptions and deductions are available for certain situations.

How to Calculate the Cost Basis of a Home The cost basis of a home is what you paid (your cost) for it. Included are the purchase price, certain expenses associated with the home purchase, improvement costs, certain legal fees, and more.Example: In 2010, Rachel purchased her home for $400,000. She made no improvements and incurred no losses for the 10 years that she lived there. In 2020, she sold her home for $550,000.

Her cost basis was $400,000, and her taxable gain was $150,000. She elected to exclude the capital gains and, as a result, owed no taxes. What Is Adjusted Home Basis? The cost basis of a home can change. Reductions in cost basis occur when you receive a return of your cost. For example, you purchased a house for $250,000 and later experienced a loss from a fire. Your home insurer issues a payment of $100,000, reducing your cost basis to $150,000 ($250,000 original cost basis – $100,000 insurance payment).

Improvements that are necessary to maintain the home with no added value, have a useful life of less than one year, or are no longer part of your home will not increase your cost basis.

Likewise, some events and activities can increase the cost basis. For example, you spend $15,000 to add a bathroom to your home. Your new cost basis will increase by the amount that you spent to improve your home. Basis When Inheriting a Home If you inherit a home, the cost basis is the fair market value (FMV) of the property when the original owner died.15 For example, say you are bequeathed a house for which the original owner paid $50,000. The home was valued at $400,000 at the time of the original owner’s death. Six months later, you sell the home for $500,000.

The taxable gain is $100,000 ($500,000 sales price – $400,000 cost basis).The FMV is determined on the date of the death of the grantor or on the alternate valuation date if the executor files an estate tax return and elects that method.16 Reporting Home Sale Proceeds to the IRS It is required to report the sale of a home if you received a Form 1099-S reporting the proceeds from the sale or if there is a non-excludable gain.

Form 1099-S is an IRS tax form reporting the sale or exchange of real estate. This form is usually issued by the real estate agency, closing company, or mortgagee. If you meet the IRS qualifications for not paying capital gains tax on the sale, inform your real estate professional by Feb. 15 following the year of the transaction.

The IRS details what transactions are not reportable:

  • If the sales price is $250,000 ($500,000 for married people) or less and the gain is fully excludable from gross income. The homeowner must also affirm that they meet the principal residence requirement. The real estate professional must receive certification that these attestations are true.
  • If the transferor is a corporation, a government or government sector, or an exempt volume transferor (someone who has or will sell 25 or more reportable real estate properties to 25 or more parties)
  • Non-sales, such as gifts
  • A transaction to satisfy a collateralized loan
  • If the total consideration for the transaction is $600 or less, which is called a de minimus transfer

Special Considerations What happens in the event of a divorce or for military personnel? Fortunately, there are considerations for these situations. In a divorce, the spouse granted ownership of a home can count the years that the home was owned by the former spouse to qualify for the use requirement.3 Also, if the grantee has ownership in the house, the use requirement can include the time that the former spouse spends living in the home until the date of sale.

Military personnel and certain government officials on official extended duty and their spouses can choose to defer the five-year requirement for up to 10 years while on duty. Essentially, as long as the military member occupies the home for two out of 15 years, they qualify for the capital gains exclusion (up to $250,000 for single taxpayers and up to $500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly).

Capital Gains Taxes on Investment Property Real estate can be categorized differently. Most commonly, it is categorized as investment or rental property or principal residences. An owner’s principal residence is the real estate used as the primary location in which they live. An investment or rental property is real estate purchased or repurposed to generate income or a profit to the owner(s) or investor(s).

How the property is classified affects how it’s taxed and what tax deductions, such as mortgage interest deductions, can be claimed. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, up to $750,000 of mortgage interest on a principal residence can be deducted. However, if a property is solely used as an investment property, it does not qualify for the capital gains exclusion.

Deferrals of capital gains tax are allowed for investment properties under the 1031 exchange if the proceeds from the sale are used to purchase a like-kind investment. And capital losses incurred in the tax year can be used to offset capital gains from the sale of investment properties. So, although not afforded the capital gains exclusion, there are ways to reduce or eliminate taxes on capital gains for investment properties.

Rental Property vs. Vacation Home Rental properties are real estate rented to others to generate income or profits. A vacation home is real estate used recreationally and not considered the principal residence. It is used for short-term stays, primarily for vacations.Homeowners often convert their vacation homes to rental properties when not in use by them. The income generated from the rental can cover the mortgage and other maintenance expenses. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

If the vacation home is rented out for less than 15 days, the income is not reportable. If the vacation home is used by the homeowner for less than two weeks in a year and then rented out for the remainder, it is considered an investment property.Homeowners can take advantage of the capital gains tax exclusion when selling their vacation home if they meet the IRS ownership and use rules.

Real Estate Taxes vs. Property Taxes The terms real estate and property are often used interchangeably, as are real estate taxes and property taxes. However, property is actually a broad term used to describe different assets, including real estate, owned by a person; also, not all property is taxed the same.Property taxes, as they relate to real estate, are ad valorem taxes assessed by the state and local governments where the real property is located.

The real estate property tax is calculated by multiplying the property tax rate by real property’s market value, which includes the value of the real property (e.g., houses, condos, and buildings) and the land that it sits on.

Property taxes, as they relate to personal property, are taxes applied to movable property. Real estate, which is immovable, is not included in personal property tax. Examples of personal property include cars, watercraft, and heavy equipment. Property taxes are applied at the state or local level and may vary by state.

Are Home Sales Tax Free?

Yes. Home sales are tax free as long as the condition of the sale meets certain criteria:

  • The seller must have owned the home and used it as their principal residence for two out of the last five years (up to the date of closing). The two years do not have to be consecutive to qualify.
  • The seller must not have sold a home in the last two years and claimed the capital gains tax exclusion.
  • If the gains do not exceed the exclusion threshold ($250,000 for single people and $500,000 for married people filing jointly), the seller does not owe taxes on the sale of their house.1

How Do I Avoid Paying Taxes When I Sell My House?

There are several ways to avoid paying taxes on the sale of your house. Here are a few:

  • Offset your capital gains with capital losses. Capital losses from previous years can be carried forward to offset gains in future years.
  • Consider using the IRS primary residence exclusion. For single taxpayers, you may exclude up to $250,000 of the capital gains, and for married taxpayers filing jointly, you may exclude up to $500,000 of the capital gains (certain restrictions apply).
  • Also, under a 1031 exchange, you can roll the proceeds from the sale of a rental or investment property into a like investment within 180 days.

How Much Tax Do I Pay When Selling My House?

How much tax you pay is dependent on the amount of the gain from selling your house and on your tax bracket. If your profits do not exceed the exclusion amount and you meet the IRS guidelines for claiming the exclusion, you owe nothing. If your profits exceed the exclusion amount and you earn from $40,400 to $441,450, you will owe a 15% tax (based on the single filing status) on the profits.5

Do I Have to Report the Sale of My Home to the IRS?

It is possible that you are not required to report the sale of your home if none of the following is true:

  • You have non-excludable, taxable gain from the sale of your home (less than $250,000 for single taxpayers and less than $500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly).
  • You were issued a Form 1099-S, reporting proceeds from real estate transactions.
  • You want to report the gain as taxable, even if all or a portion falls within the exclusionary guidelines.

What is the Penalty for Selling a House Less Than Two Years After Purchase?

You probably cannot qualify for the $250,000/$500,000 exemption from gains on selling your primary residence. That’s because to qualify for that exemption, you must have used the home in question as your primary residence for at least two of the previous five years, and you generally can’t use the exemption twice within two years.However, there are exceptions for certain circumstances: Military service, death of a spouse, and job relocation are the most common reasons that might allow you to take at least a partial exemption. The IRS has a worksheet for determining an exclusion limit; see Topic 701.

Do You Pay Capital Gains Taxes When You Sell a Second Home?

Because the IRS allows exemptions from capital gains taxes only on a primary residence, it’s difficult to avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of a second home without converting that home to your primary residence by considering the two-in-five-year rule (you lived in it for a total of two of the past five years). Put simply, you determine that you spent enough time in one home that it is actually your primary residence.If one of the homes was primarily an investment, it’s not set up to be the exemption-eligible home. The demarcation between investment property and vacation property goes like this: It’s investment property if the taxpayer has owned the property for two full years, it has been rented to someone for a fair rental rate for at least 14 days in each of the previous two years, and it cannot have been used for personal use for 14 days or 10 percent of the time that it was otherwise rented, whichever is greater, for the previous 12 months.If you or your family use it for more than two weeks a year, it’s likely to be considered personal property, not investment property, and thus subject to taxes on capital gains, as would any other asset other than your principal residence.

What If You Sell a House Less Than Two Years After Buying It?

You probably cannot qualify for the $250,000 single/$500,000 married-filing-jointly exemption from gains on selling your primary residence. That’s because to qualify for that exemption, you must have used the home in question as your primary residence for at least two of the previous five years, and you generally can’t use the exemption twice within two years.However, there are exceptions for certain circumstances: Military service, death of a spouse, and job relocation are the most common reasons that might allow you to take at least a partial exemption. The IRS has a worksheet for determining an exclusion limit; see Topic 701.

Do You Pay Capital Gains If You Lose Money on a Home Sale?

You can’t deduct the losses on a primary residence, nor can you treat it as a capital loss on your taxes. You may be able to do so, however, on investment property or rental property. Keep in mind that gains from the sale of one asset can be offset by losses on other asset sales up to $3,000 or your total net loss, and such losses may be eligible for carryover in subsequent tax years.If you sell below-market to a relative or friend, the transaction may subject the recipient to taxes on the difference, which the IRS may consider a gift.

Also remember that the recipient inherits your cost basis for purposes of determining any capital gains when they sell it, so the recipient should be aware of how much you paid for it, how much you spent on improvement, and costs of selling, if any.

By: Chad Langager

Source: Do You Have to Pay Capital Gains Tax on a Home Sale?

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How To Choose The Right Employee Benefits For 2022 During Open Enrollment

For employees, it’s not pumpkin spice season right now, it’s Open Enrollment season. That means it’s time to make the health and retirement plan choices that will be right for you in 2022.

It isn’t easy, and many workers feel uneasy about choosing wisely. In its 2021 State of Work in America survey of 1,500 U.S. employees, the professional services firm Grant Thornton found that 36% of workers weren’t confident they’d chosen the best medical plan. And 80% of employees surveyed by Lincoln Financial said they wish they better understood some aspect of their retirement plan.

Employees can expect to see rising out-of-pocket health costs through their employer coverage in 2022, including premium increases of 4% to 5%. Some higher-paid workers will be asked to pay more for their health insurance than lower-paid workers. Roughly a third of employers surveyed by the benefits consulting firm Willis Towers WLTW +0.1% said they’d consider narrowing the network of doctors and other health care providers available to patients.

But you may be in for a few pleasant surprises.

“As employers continue to compete for talent, many are adding a number of new benefits to their lineup for next year including resources and additional paid leave for caregivers, surgery Centers of Excellence [more on this below], financial planning and expanded mental health benefits, virtual physical therapy and other digital health programs,” says Erin Tatar, senior vice president of workplace consulting at Fidelity Investments.

Some employers have added an emergency savings account option through payroll deductions, too. About 23% of employees are currently offered one, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Tatar’s advice: “Take time to attend virtual benefits fairs to review the growing list of health, wealth and other benefits from your employer this fall.”

Getting the Right Health Coverage

For many older workers, access to affordable health care coverage is the No. 1 employee benefit they seek. Before you enroll in a health plan for 2022, ask yourself: How much did I pay in premiums this year? How many trips to the doctor, hospital or emergency room did members of my household make? What else did we spend out-of-pocket for health care in 2021?

Then, start comparing the features and prices of your options, since they can vary significantly. Compare the benefits, rules, restrictions and costs such as co-pays, annual deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. You may well need to deal with Alphabet City, deciding among a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account or HSA (an HSA lets you save money in a tax-advantaged account and then withdraw cash tax-free to pay for qualified medical expenses), a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan and a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan.

Don’t assume that whatever health plan and benefits you had in 2021 will be the best for you in 2022. Your plan may have changed. Your circumstances may have changed; for example, if your last son or daughter is now in college, it might make sense to buy a university plan for that child while you and your spouse change from family coverage to “employee + 1” coverage.

And don’t miss out on the panoply of health benefits in your plan choices, especially new benefits that can save you money.

“An often-overlooked benefit for older workers is a surgery Centers of Excellence program,” says Tatar. Here, if you are planning to have surgery — such as spine, knee, hip or bariatric surgery — the company will arrange for you to receive care from a Center of Excellence to receive top notch and affordable treatment.

“They will often provide more generous benefits coverage for patients who participate and will cover any upfront travel costs for you and a companion if the best care is outside your community,” Tatar notes.

If you’re in good health, says Seth Mullikin of Lattice Financial in Charlotte, N.C, “an HSA (with a high deductible plan) generally makes sense. From a financial planning perspective, it gets better if you can fund these costs from personal savings and let your HSA money grow tax-free over time.”

The HSA also lets you pay for health expenses in the future, even into retirement, adds Mullikin. In 2022, employees with high-deductible health plans will generally be allowed to contribute up to $3,650 in an HSA; as much as $7,300 for family coverage.

Time for a Second Opinion?

You may also be able to sign up to get a second opinion as part of your health coverage. Some employers have even expanded eligibility to receive a second medical opinion for an employee’s parents and grandparents.

“As we get older, the risk of having a serious health event increases. If this happens to you, it’s natural to seek a second opinion. Some employers we are working with now want to give employees better peace of mind, so they offer ‘second opinion’ benefits,” notes Tatar. “Then they can provide an entire medical diagnosis and treatment plan as an option for you to discuss with your doctor. And it is usually covered one hundred percent.”

Mental Health Coverage

The pandemic and revelations by star athletes including tennis’ Naomi Osaka and gymnastics’ Simone Biles, has made taking care of our mental health a priority.

More than three-quarters of large employers surveyed by the nonprofit Business Group on Health say access to mental health care is now a top priority. In 2021, 62% of employers this group surveyed added mental health benefits.

To that end, check to see if your employer is incorporating resiliency and mindfulness training and mental health options such as telehealth counseling into its benefits offerings.

Disability Coverage

You may also want to look into getting disability insurance coverage through work.

“Your chance of being disabled is much greater than the risk of premature death,” says wealth adviser Graham Ewing of Financial Consulate in Hunt Valley, Md. “If your employer is offering disability insurance, consider it.”

But, he adds, “you need to understand how disability is being defined by the insurance company. For example, some policies will pay out benefits for only two years if you can’t do your current job. Others won’t pay beyond two years if you are not completely incapacitated. So, find out what’s covered and what’s not.”

Group disability coverage typically pays up to 60% of salary if you can’t keep working at your job or switch to another position and you expect to be disabled for a year or more.

Care Giving Benefits

If you are caring for an aging loved one or someone with a serious illness, inquire about work/life balance or employee assistance programs. Some companies are now offering caregiver navigation benefits which connect you with experts to help find local elder care resources or options for assisted living or nursing homes.

If you’re a caregiver, you’ll likely need some give and take with your schedule, so see what HR will do for you.

Says Tim Glowa, a principal and leader of Grant Thornton’s employee listening and human capital services offerings: “Everyone has a unique set of responsibilities outside of the office. As companies return to the office, it will be more crucial than ever to give people the time they need to take care of what’s important at home.”

Financial Wellness and Retirement Planning

Open Enrollment season may also be a good time to revisit your retirement plan and do a “financial check-up,” similar to getting an annual wellness physical from your doctor, says Ewing.

“You may want to revisit your risk tolerance, especially if you are concerned about gyrations in the stock market,” he adds.

Mullikin notes that many of his 50+ clients are worried about having enough money to retire comfortably. “So, our first order of business is to find out if they can increase, or max out, their 401(k) contributions,” he says.

Another way to save more for retirement when you’re over 50 is to make catch-up contributions to your retirement plan.

These let you put in up to $6,500 more than others can in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan or up to $1,000 in an Individual Retirement Account. “Plus, you and your spouse (if they are also enrolled) can make catch-up contributions of up to a thousand dollars to your HSA at age fifty-five,” notes Mullikin.

Reimbursing Your Remote Work Expenses

If you’ll be working remotely in 2022, even part of the time, check with your HR department about getting reimbursed for home office expenses like a standing desk, a Wi-Fi extender, a headset and any ergonomic equipment designed to keep you healthy and productive.

About a fifth of employers the benefits consulting firm Mercer surveyed said they’d be adding or enhancing reimbursement for off-site workers in 2021, including subsidizing ergonomic furniture.

Some firms pay for setups of $200 to $300. Others offer partial ongoing reimbursement for an employee’s home internet service and cell service.

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Source: How To Choose The Right Employee Benefits For 2022 During Open Enrollment

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