Tax Tidbits

  Spring 2015

By Cody Daniels, M&S Senior Tax Associate

Did you know the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would repeal the Federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes?

The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 passed the House vote with a 240-179 margin. Even if the bill passes the Senate, it will likely fall to a Presidential veto. An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the bill would increase the Federal debt by $269 billion over the next ten years. Despite the relative uncertainty the bills faces, it could signal changes are on the horizon.

Did you know an individual’s Social Security benefits are based on your average monthly earnings in your 35 highest-earning years after age 21?

These amounts are tallied at age 62 and then indexed for inflation. For an individual retiring at age 62, this commonly represents his or her earnings each year beginning at age 26. If an individual worked fewer than 35 years, the missing years are counted as zero, bringing the average down. In other words, working a minimum of 35 years results in the highest potential benefit.

Did you know funding for the IRS has been reduced by $1.2 billion over the last five years?

Funding for the IRS dropped to $10.9 billion in FY 2015 – the lowest level of funding since 2008. Adjusted for inflation the IRS’s budget today is comparable to its budget in 1998, despite the fact is process roughly 27 million more returns than in 1998. In the past five years, the IRS has reduced its workforce by over 13,000. IRS Commissioner Koskinen expects to end the fiscal year with an average phone level service of only 40%.