Itemized Deductions Limitation in 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 added a limitation for itemized deductions claimed on 2013 returns of individuals with incomes of $250,000 or more ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly).

In reality this is not a new law; this is basically a re-birth of the famous “Pease limitation” that was the part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. This limitation was later phased out during the era of Bush tax cuts and completely eliminated for the year 2010. Subsequently, additional legislation extended the elimination of the Pease limitation from 2010 through 2012. Now, as part of the New Year’s compromise, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 reinstated the provision with an upgrade; the provision is codified as 26 USC §68.

In order to understand how the provision works, it is important to emphasize that the idea is to limit the impact of certain itemized deductions, but not to completely eliminate the tax advantages of such deductions.

Types of Itemized Deductions Affected by the Limitation

Armed with this understanding, let’s look at the details of the Pease limitation. First, the provision mostly applies to the following types of itemized deductions: charitable contributions, mortgage interest, state/local/property taxes and miscellaneous itemized deductions. However, the statute expressly excludes medical expense deductions, the investment interest deduction, casualty, theft, or gambling loss deductions (see 26 USC §68(c)).

Limitation and Thresholds

For the tax year 2013, 26 USC §68 starts to limit the itemized deductions once the AGI exceeds $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for joint filers (these are the items indexed for inflation). The limitation will consist of the less of (a) 3% of the adjusted gross income above the threshold amount, or (b) 80% of the amount of the itemized deductions otherwise allowable for the taxable year.

For example, in a hypothetical where a an individual earns $300,000 in 2013 and his itemized deductions consist of mortgage interest and property tax deductions of $50,000, the individual’s itemized deductions will be reduced by $ 1,500.

Based on the information in our hypothetical (and disregarding any other facts and factors), here are the calculations:

(a) $300,000 AGI – $250,000 (threshold for 2013) = $50,000; 3% x $50,000 = $1,500;
(b) 80% x $50,000 of itemized deductions = $40,000.

Since $1,500 is less than $40,000, this is the amount that should be used to reduce the taxpayer’s itemized deductions.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Tax Planning Help Regarding Pease Limitation

If you are potentially facing the limitation of your itemized deductions, it is possible that you are overlooking tax alternatives that may mitigate the impact of Pease Limitation. If you wish to explore such alternatives as part of your overall tax plan, contact the experienced tax firm of Sherayzen Law Office.