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Retirement Perspectives

video

Director of Taxation Vito Fronda and Retirement Analyst Brian Dobbis discuss some of the tax law changes investors need to know. 

Transcript

Narrator: This is Lord Abbett's Retirement Perspectives.

Mike Weldon: This is Mike Weldon, Partner and Director of Marketing at Lord Abbett. Joining me today are Vito Fronda, Director of Taxation and Brian Dobbis, Retirement Analyst. Gentlemen, welcome. Vito, I want to start with you. A lot of changes in 2013 that investors, as we gather our tax materials here in the Spring of 2014, are just starting to wake up to. Can you talk about what some of those changes are?

Vito Fronda: Absolutely. There have been a lot of changes in 2013, but I'm just going to highlight a few of them. So first there was the American Taxpayer Relief Act, and provisions within that act increased the maximum tax rates associated with certain taxpayers. So now the maximum tax rate is 39.6% for taxpayers with taxable income of over $400,000 if they're single or $450,000 if they're married. In addition, those same taxpayers are subject to a maximum tax rate of 20% on long-term capital gains.

In addition to that, the Affordable Care Act added Medicare surcharges. The first is a 3.8% Medicare surcharge on net investment income, also known as the Net Investment Income Tax, and then there's the 0.9% Medicare surcharge on wages in excess of the threshold. The threshold here is $200,000 if you're single and $250,000 if you're married, and that's based on adjusted gross income.

Mike Weldon: Now you mentioned Net Investment Income Tax. Can you give a little more detail on what that is?

Vito Fronda: Sure, Net Investment Income Tax is a new tax regime. It's in addition to your Alternative Minimum Tax or your regular taxes, but by definition, your net investment income is income from investments. So, generally it's dividends, interest, capital gains, rents, and royalties, but also what's important here, is to define what's not included in net investment income. So, what's specifically excluded from your net investment income is tax-exempt income, and also, distributions from qualified retirement plans.

Mike Weldon: Now, municipals would be exempt from the Net Investment Income Tax, that's correct?

Vito Fronda: Correct, yes.

Mike Weldon: And then what about trusts?

Vito Fronda: So for trusts, trusts will be subject to your Net Investment Income Tax. However, the threshold is a lot lower for trusts, it's about $20,000.

Mike Weldon: Okay. So Brian, turning to you, Vito mentioned retirement planning. So what can investors do, from a retirement planning perspective, to perhaps minimize the impact of these changes?

Brian Dobbis: Sure, Mike. What they should do is make a renewed emphasis to participate in their employer sponsored plans, such as a 403b, 401k, or make deductible IRA contributions as those pre-tax deferrals into a qualified plan reduce your adjusted gross income, potentially lowering or avoiding exposure to the new surtax regime that Vito referenced.

Mike Weldon: Now, it's not only retirement contributions. We have a lot of folks out there that are at or approaching that 70½ timeframe, Required Minimum Distribution, so what about withdrawals from retirement?

Brian Dobbis: Good question. As Vito mentioned, a withdrawal from a retirement account is not considered net investment income. But a withdrawal from a retirement account could, or generally does, increase your overall adjusted gross income, which could potentially, then, subject all your net investment income to the new surtax. And this is especially important for the folks out there taking required minimum distributions, because the rules state you have to take your required minimum distribution or you get assessed a penalty.

Mike Weldon: Alright, thank you very much, gentlemen. And I believe if people want more information, they can look to your Timely Tax Tips article on our website.

Vito Fronda: Absolutely.

Mike Weldon: Okay, thanks very much. This has been Lord Abbett's Retirement Perspectives. Thanks for watching.

Narrator: For more information on this topic, or to access other videos, audio files, articles or commentary, please explore Lordabbett.com.

Risks to Consider:
The income derived from municipal securities may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federal, state, and local taxes may apply. There is a risk that a bond issued as tax-exempt may be reclassified by the IRS as taxable, creating taxable rather than tax-free income. In addition, bonds may be subject to other types of risk such as call, credit, liquidity, interest-rate, and general market risks.

To comply with Treasury Department regulations, we inform you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any tax information contained herein is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or any other applicable tax law, or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction, arrangement, or other matter.

Glossary

Required Minimum Requirement (RMD) is the amount that Traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRA owners and qualified plan participants must begin distributing from their retirement accounts by April 1 following the year they reach age 70.5. RMD amounts must then be distributed each subsequent year.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is a measure of income used to determine how much of your income is taxable. Adjusted gross income (AGI) is calculated as your gross income from taxable sources minus allowable deductions, such as unreimbursed business expenses, medical expenses, alimony and deductible retirement plan contributions. Also referred to as "net income."

Affordable Care Act is a federal statute signed into law in March 2010 as a part of the healthcare reform agenda of the Obama administration. Signed under the title of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law included multiple provisions that would take effect over a matter of years, including the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the establishment of health insurance exchanges and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is a U.S. bill signed by President Obama on January 2, 2013, that had numerous provisions affecting Americans' income tax bills. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 averted the tax aspect of the "fiscal cliff" by preventing many tax breaks from expiring as scheduled. Furthermore, it delayed mandatory congressional spending cuts called "the sequester" until March 2013. It also raised the marginal tax rate for certain high-income households, extended various tax credits, capped the estate tax and patched the alternative minimum tax, among other things.

Deductible IRA Contributions
Single individuals, covered by an employer sponsored plan, can fully deduct their IRA contribution when income is below $59,000 in 2013 ($60,000 in 2014). A partial deduction is available in 2013 if the income is above $59,000, but does not exceed $69,000 ($60,000 to $70,000 in 2014).

Once qualified plan participation extends to either member of a married couple the rules change. For 2013 contributions, couples filing jointly, where only one spouse is covered by an employer sponsored retirement plan, the spouse not covered may deduct the full IRA contribution if the couple's joint income is less than $178,000. A partial deduction is available if the couple's joint income is greater than $178,000 but does not exceed $188,000. No deduction is permitted once joint income exceeds $188,000. These income limits increase to $181,000 and $191,000, respectively, regarding any contribution made for calendar year 2014.

If an individual is married and both spouses are covered by an employer-sponsored plan during 2013, fully deductible IRA contributions are permitted if joint income is less than $95,000. A partial deduction is available if the couples joint income is above $95,000, but does not exceed $115,000. These income limits increase to $96,000 and $116,000 respectively regarding any contribution made for calendar year 2014.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is a tax calculation that adds certain tax preference items back into adjusted gross income. Alternative minimum tax (AMT) uses a separate set of rules to calculate taxable income after allowed deductions. Preferential deductions are added back, and then the AMT exemption is subtracted to get the AMT taxable income (AMTI). AMTI is then taxed at the current rate schedule to get tentative minimum tax (TMT). If TMT is higher than the regular tax liability for the year, the regular tax and the amount by which the TMT exceeds the regular tax are paid (i.e. the taxpayer pays the full TMT).

This broadcast serves as reference material for information purposes only; does not constitute an offer to acquire, solicitation for an offer to acquire, an offer to sell or solicitation for an offer to buy, any securities, nor is intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice on any securities, and cannot be used for any of the foregoing.

The views and opinions expressed by the Lord Abbett speaker are those of the speaker as of the date of the broadcast, and do not necessarily represent the views of the firm as a whole. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and Lord Abbett disclaims any responsibility to update such views. Neither Lord Abbett nor the Lord Abbett speaker can be responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

The value of investments and any income from them is not guaranteed and may fall as well as rise, and an investor may not get back the amount originally invested. Please consult your investment professional for additional information concerning your specific situation.

This broadcast is the copyright © 2014 of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC. All Rights Reserved. This recording may not be reproduced in whole or in part or any form without the permission of Lord Abbett. Lord Abbett mutual funds are distributed by Lord Abbett Distributor LLC.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY LORD ABBETT FUNDS, CONTACT YOUR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL OR LORD ABBETT DISTRIBUTOR LLC AT 888-522-2388, OR VISIT US AT WWW.LORDABBETT.COM FOR A PROSPECTUS WHICH CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A FUND'S INVESTMENT GOALS, SALES CHARGES, EXPENSES AND RISKS THAT AN INVESTOR SHOULD CONSIDER AND READ CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING.

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