Important Tax Changes for 2015 Posted on 13 Apr 15:50

Be prepared, as these tax form changes are happening in 2015.

Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Penalty

This is the biggest change for 2015, and the biggest change in tax law in years. The Affordable Care Act mandates that all Americans either have health insurance or pay a tax penalty for not having it. The penalties began in 2014 at 1% of household income (or $95, whichever is greater), and in 2015 the penalties increase to 2% of income (or $325, whichever is greater. Participants in the marketplace should receive Form 1095-A from the Health Insurance Marketplace. Form 8962 for Premium Tax Credit is also needed for families who get their health coverage through state-run exchanges. More information can be found here.

Tax Bracket Adjustments

For 2015, income tax thresholds have again been adjusted for inflation by about 1.6% over 2014. The highest tax rate of 39.6%, for instance, will now apply to single filers with adjusted gross income of more than $413,200 and married couples with adjusted gross income of more than $464,850. Both figures are up about 1.6% from tax year 2014. More information can be found here.

Standard Deduction

The standard deduction has also been adjusted for inflation. The deduction for single or married filing separately is up $100 to $6,300, and for married couples filing jointly, the deduction is up $200 to $12,600 for 2015.

401(k) Limits

The inflation adjusted limit on employee contributions to a 401(k) plan will increase by $500 from 2014 to $18,000 for workers under 50. Workers over 50 can now contribute an additional $6,000, which is an increase of over over the previous cap of $5,500.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Limits

Employee-sponsored flexible spending accounts are used for setting aside pretax money to pay for qualified health care expenses such as eyeglasses,physical therapy, day-care, and in-home care. The annual limit on employee contributions to FSAs has increased by $50 from 2014 and is now $2,550. There are no reporting requirements for FSAs on your income tax return. For more information, see here.

Bitcoin

Taxpayers who received payments in virtual currency such as bitcoins in 2015 must include the fair market value of the payments in their annual income. Also, taxes will apply for investments in virtual currency. 

IRA Rollovers

Beginning in 2015, only a one single rollover can be made from an IRA in a 12-month period. The new IRS rule targets the practice of withdrawing funds and using them as a short-term loan before re-depositing them.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Changes

The alternative minimum tax exemption has been inflation adjusted to $53,600 for individuals and $83,400 for joint filers, which is an increase of 1.5% over 2014.