Tax Milestones Throughout Your Lifetime

Milestones happen throughout your lifetime: getting a driver’s license, having a baby, buying your first house… the list goes on.

While these events may be significant milestones, there are also some important birthdays that carry tax consequences. Here are a few major life milestones to keep in mind so there is no surprise come tax time!


AGE 13:

Child and Dependent Care Credit is no longer available

The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps ease the burden of childcare expenses by providing a credit against your taxes of up to $1,050 for one child ($2,100 for two or more children). But once your child turns 13, you generally can no longer claim the credit. Child care expenses for your child, ages 13 or older, also no longer qualify for reimbursement under a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which allows you to save up to $5,000 pre-tax and use the funds for eligible expenses. Both the credit and the FSA are available for disabled older children and other dependents who live with you (such as parents) who require care while you work.

AGE 17:

Child tax credit ends

The credit of up to $2,000 for each qualifying child you claim as a dependent ends the year the child turns 17. (Your child’s age on December 31 is used to determine eligibility.)

AGES 19 – 24:

Kiddie Tax ends

“Kiddie Tax” means that your child’s unearned income above $2,200 (for 2019) is taxed at trust rates. Once your child turns 19, or 24 if they are full-time students, Kiddie Tax ends and the unearned income is taxed at the child’s (probably lower) tax rate. Unearned income may include dividends, interest, capital gain, unemployment benefits, some taxable scholarships, and survivor pensions.


AGE 50:

Make catch-up contributions to retirement plans

If eligible, you can contribute to your retirement plans each year, but once you turn 50, you can contribute an extra $6,000 to your 401(k) for a maximum contribution of $25,000 for 2019, or an extra $1,000 to your traditional or Roth individual retirement account (IRA) for a maximum contribution of $7,000 for 2019.

AGE 55:

Make catch-up contributions to a health savings account (HSA)

At 55, you can also make a catch-up contribution of an additional $1,000 to your HSA. Taxpayers are normally limited to contributing $3,500 for self-only plans or $7,000 for family plans for 2019.

AGE 59½:

Take distributions from retirement accounts without a penalty

Under age 59½, you will face a 10% penalty for early withdrawals you take from your retirement accounts unless an exception applies. But by 59½, you can make withdrawals from your retirement accounts for any purpose without any penalty.

AGE 65:

Make non-medical withdrawals from an HSA without penalty

If you use HSA funds for non-qualified expenses, you must pay income tax on the withdrawal and pay a 20% penalty. However; the penalty is waived once you turn 65, meaning the HSA can function like a tax-deferred savings account. (However, distributions are still taxable if not used for qualified medical expenses.)

AGE 70½:

Take required minimum distributions (RMDs)

You must take a required minimum distribution from your traditional IRA when you turn 70½. If you do not withdraw the required minimum amount you will be subject to a 50% penalty on the minimum distribution amount you were required to take. Your first RMD must be taken by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 70½. After that, the distribution must be taken by December 31 each year. Employer-sponsored retirement plans, like a 401(k), also require a minimum distribution. However, if you are still working beyond the age of 70½ at the organization sponsoring your 401(k), the requirement will not kick in until retirement, if allowed by the plan sponsor.

The tax consequences of important life milestones have implications on your financial landscape. Make the most of your tax situation – connect with a Tax Advisor who can help you understand your options and suggest alternatives when your situation changes.


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