Just the Right Age

Birthdays sometimes bring new rights, responsibilities, benefits and liabilities.  Voting, driving a car and Social Security benefits spring to mind, but here are some others:

Birth

    Parents may obtain a Social Security number for their newborns.

Age 18

  • Contributions (up to $2,000 annually) may no longer be made to a Coverdell education savings account on behalf of the child.
  • A self-employed parent who hires his or her child must begin paying Social Security taxes on the child’s earnings.
  • Assets in the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account become the property of the child.  In some states, the age is 21.

Age 19

    The kiddie tax no longer applies.  The tax continues to apply to children under the age of 24 if they are full-time students whose earned income is less than half the child’s support.  The unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains) in excess of $2,200 of a child subject to the kiddie tax is taxed at rates that apply to estates and trusts.  The highest 37% bracket applies to unearned income in excess of $12,750 in 2019.

Age 30

    Funds remaining in an education savings account must be distributed by this time.  If not used for qualified education expenses, the beneficiary is taxed on the earnings.  The tax can be avoided by rolling over the account to another family member under age 30.

Age 50

    A $1,000 catch-up IRA contribution may be made, in addition to the regular $6,000 IRA contribution.  For 401(k) plans, the catch-up is $6,000, making the maximum contribution $25,000 for 2019.

Age 59½

    Withdrawals from IRAs are no longer subject to the 10% early distribution penalty.

Age 62

    Social Security retirement may begin, but payments are reduced.  If the recipient continues working, benefits are reduced by $1 for each $2 of earned income in excess of $17,640 (2019 amount).

Age 65

    The standard deduction increases by $1,650 for single taxpayers and by $1,300 for married taxpayers (2019 amount).

Age 66

  • Age of full Social Security retirement for persons born before 1955.  For those born in 1955 and later, the age for full retirement is scheduled to gradually increase, eventually reaching age 67 for those born in 1960 and later.
  • Earnings no longer reduce Social Security benefits.

Age 70½

  • Required minimum distributions must begin from IRAs (except Roth IRAs) and most other retirement plans by April 1 of the year after the individual reaches age 70½.
  • Deductible contribution may no longer be made to an IRA, even if the person continues to work, but nondeductible contributions can be made to Roth IRAs, subject to overall earnings limits.  Contributions can continue to be made to 401(k) plans, provided the individual is not the owner of the company sponsoring the plan.
  • Qualified charitable distributions may be made from IRAs to charity, with no income tax owed on amounts up to $100,000 paid directly from the account.

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