Wow what an interesting start to this New Year – if we didn’t have enough regular mandated changes slated for the start of this year, a few more managed to pop up quite quickly. With that here is a quick recap of some of new & some of the most major impacts that affect almost everyone…
Commercial RRP – Round 2:
Heads up, the EPA is still on its kick to add commercial & industrial buildings under the RRP and is looking for your help to make it happen. Right now they have an open request for information both in support & against the idea which ends on April Fool’s Day (no joke). There is also a public meeting scheduled June 26 in which they will review the comments & a new proposed rule.
If you happen to be involved with NAICS codes 236x, 238x, 531x, &/or 921x you should definitely keep your head up as this move forward. I would strongly urge you to kick your associations in the rear to get some comments in especially in regards to how this is handled by OSHA, et al. For more on this you can follow the link above. For more on our thoughts when this first came through; The Proposed Extension – Initial Public Comment
Oooh the EPA has decided to step up its enforcement by… drum roll please… yep, by sending out postcards (and you thought the April Fool’s Deadline couldn’t be any funnier)
Health Care Changes:
For small business owners (25 employees or less) a tax credit of 35% is now available for those that provide insurance for their employees. Medicare will see some changes based on new taxes being imposed not only on payroll contributions but also buying & selling investments based on income levels. Flexible Spending Account contributions are now limited to $2,500 & the limit for deducting out of pocket expenses is now 10%. (Yeah now is a good time to talk to your accountant)
As for the states & the new health Care exchanges – well this will get interesting as some states are fully behind them, while others are telling the Feds where to shove it. For a state by state list of resources & ways of sorting this mess out, you might want to check Remodeling Magazine’s page on this: Healthcare Coverage or this one referred to from NARI.
Fiscal Cliff Changes:
- Individual tax rates rise permanently to Clinton-era levels for families with income above $450,000 and individuals above $400,000. Capital Gains & Dividends is also now set at 20% for the same group which does not include the additional Medicare taxes being assessed for those making 250K & up.
- Time to consider getting an estate lawyer again – the death tax has been reinstituted & set at 40% for those in the making $450,000/$400,000 class with a $5 million exemption which will be indexed for inflation.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit are extended for five years.
- The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently “patched” to avoid raising taxes on the middle-class.
- Ahh my favorite – last year it was a penalizing tax on everyone & this year it back to being just a holiday whose time has come to an end – yep the 2% Social Security tax holiday has expired which means everyone’s paychecks will be 2% lighter.
- For those that itemize, the Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) is set at $250,000, and the itemized deduction limitation (Pease) kicks in at $300,000.
- The dreaded $8 a gallon milk has been corked for 9 months
Energy Efficiency Credits:
You know all those credits that expired in 2011 – well they are back & made retroactive to January 1st, 2102. The 25c (windows, doors, etc…) for homeowners making “energy efficient” updates is now limited to $500. The $2000 credit for builders who build energy efficient homes has also been brought back though there is one major catch as pointed out by Jeffrey Sauls of Energy Vanguard… Instead of them listing the 2004 IECC as before, they now list the 2006 IECC which contains very few differences. The problem is RemRate & the other approved programs don’t have a report based on the 2006 IECC which means that raters will have to wait for that to be fixed, before they can give the builders the forms required for their taxes.