On Jan. 2, Congress passed the American Tax Relief Act to address the fiscal cliff. The act makes permanent 2012 income tax rates for most taxpayers, as well as alternative minimum tax relief. It also extends many other breaks for individuals and businesses. However, the fiscal cliff deal does result in some tax increases; here are three of the most significant:

  1. Payroll taxes. The act doesn’t extend payroll tax relief. So taxpayers with earned income will see a Social Security tax rate increase of two percentage points in 2013.
  2. Income taxes. Beginning in 2013, taxpayers with taxable income that exceeds $400,000 (singles), $425,000 (heads of households) or $450,000 (married filing jointly) will face a marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent (up from 35 percent) and a long-term capital gains rate of 20 percent (up from 15 percent).
  3. Estate taxes. While the $5 million (indexed for inflation) estate tax exemption has been made permanent, the top estate tax rate increases from 35 percent to 40 percent beginning in 2013.

Stay tuned to our VIEWpoint blog for more additional news related to the fiscal cliff, and contact us to explore how these changes impact your specific situation.