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Good news about your taxes

Has President Obama raised your taxes? Well, it probably depends. To be honest and forthcoming, if you smoke or use a tanning salon, you’re paying more in federal excise taxes. Like it or not, the cigarette tax was raised to expand children’s health insurance. Also, starting in 2013, the Medicare tax will increase from 2.9% to 3.8% on earned and unearned income (e.g. capital gains, interest, dividends) if you make more than $200,000. There are numerous exemptions including retirement plan distributions and capital gains from the sale of a principal residence. Assuming you’re not a chain smoker or artificially tanned, there’s plenty of good news when it comes to Obama and taxes. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Directives, federal income taxes for middle-income families are at historically low levels. Overall federal taxes (income, payroll, and excise taxes) are at their lowest level in decades. The simple truth, fortunate for struggling middle class families, is that federal tax rates are significantly lower under Obama than George W. Bush. If you and your spouse are lucky enough to invest a bit and make less than $69,000, then you’ll pay nothing on capital gains under Obama. Obama has also lowered the payroll tax, putting $1000 in the pockets of a middle class family. And if he can get some Republican congressional support in 2012, he’d like the payroll cut to expand to $1500. So that’s the tax lowdown on President Obama. Somehow he’s been able to keep his campaign promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, you’ve gotta be pleased to be taxed at historically low levels. That’s more hard-earned money in our pockets. In these hard times that’s good news.

Stanley Schroeder

Hamilton

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