Filing and Payment Extension for Suffolk County and other Victims of Boston Marathon Explosions

On April 16, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service announced a three-month tax filing and payment extension to Boston area taxpayers and others affected by April 15, 2013 explosions. This relief applies to all individual taxpayers who live in Suffolk County, Mass., including the city of Boston. It also includes victims, their families, first responders, others impacted by this tragedy who live outside Suffolk County and taxpayers whose tax preparers were adversely affected.

“Our hearts go out to the people affected by this tragic event,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “We want victims and others affected by this terrible tragedy to have the time they need to finish their individual tax returns.”

Under the relief announced today, the IRS will issue a notice giving eligible taxpayers until July 15, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and pay any taxes normally due April 15. No filing and payment penalties will be due as long as returns are filed and payments are made by July 15, 2013.

Note, however, by law, interest, currently at the annual rate of 3 percent compounded daily, will still apply to any payments made after the April deadline.

The IRS will automatically provide this extension to anyone living in Suffolk County. If you live in Suffolk County, no further action is necessary by taxpayers to obtain this relief. However, eligible taxpayers living outside Suffolk County can claim this relief by calling 1-866-562-5227 starting Tuesday, April 23, 2013, and identifying themselves to the IRS before filing a return or making a payment. Eligible taxpayers who receive penalty notices from the IRS can also call this number to have these penalties abated.

Eligible taxpayers who need more time to file their returns may receive an additional extension to Oct. 15, 2013, by filing Form 4868 by July 15, 2013.

Annual Inflation Adjustments for 2013: Overview

On January 11, 2013, the IRS announced annual inflation adjustments for the tax year 2013, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes from the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Changes in Tax Brackets; Adjustment to Standard Deduction and Personal Exemption

Starting tax year 2013, a new tax rate of 39.6 percent has been added for individuals whose income exceeds $400,000 ($450,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return). The other marginal rates — 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent — remain the same as in prior years, though the taxable income thresholds for each of the marginal rate have changed (see this article).

For the tax year 2013, the standard deduction increased to $6,100 for individuals and $12,200 for married couples filing jointly. This is up from the 2012 numbers of $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for married couples filing jointly.

Note that 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).

For the tax 2013, the personal exemption rose to $3,900, up from the 2012 exemption of $3,800. However beginning in 2013, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $250,000 ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $372,500 ($422,500 for married couples filing jointly.)

Alternative Minimum Tax Changes

The Alternative Minimum Tax (“AMT”) exemption amount for tax year 2013 is $51,900 ($80,800 for married couples filing jointly as set by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The 2012 exemption amount was $50,600 ($78,750 for married couples filing jointly).

One of the most important changes introduced by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was the permanent “fix” of the AMT by indexing future exemption amounts for inflation.

Earned Income Tax Credit

For the year 2013, the maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,044 for taxpayers filing jointly with 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $5,891 for tax year 2012.

Other Inflation Adjustments

There are a number of other inflation adjustments published by the IRS. This essay merely attempts to clarify those which are most common. More details are contained in IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-15.