You've still got a little time left to get some year-end transactions in that could result in savings on your 2015 tax return. But as we get ready to start a new tax year, what changes are in store that you should be thinking about?
Well, for starters, what's not changing in 2016 are the tax brackets. The top marginal bracket is still 39.6 percent. But the taxable income levels the tax brackets apply to will all increase by about 0.5 percent because the tax law requires these to rise in step with government inflation benchmarks. So, married filers with taxable income in 2016 exceeding $466,951 and single filers with over $415,051 will pay at this top rate.
Also unchanged in 2016 is the maximum amount workers can contribute to their 401(k) or other similar style retirement plans. This remains at $18,000 ($24,000 for workers over age 50 in 2016). Amounts allowed as contributions to IRAs are also the same ($5,500 and $6,500 for those over age 50).
Families that use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will be allowed to contribute an additional $100, for a total of $6,750. In 2016, HSA contributions for individuals remain at $3,350.
However, here are several notable tax changes to keep in mind for next year.
The new spending bill also makes permanent other tax breaks that were set to expire:
American Opportunity tax credit: This allows a dollar-for-dollar credit against your tax liability of up to $2,500 per year when you pay for qualifying education costs for as many as four years of post-secondary education.
Finally, you'll have more time to file your tax returns in 2016. That's because April 15 falls on a Friday, which is a holiday in Washington D.C. Because of this, the deadline for filing will be Monday, April 18, 2016. And if your filing processing center is in New England, then filing day is Tuesday, April 19 because those states' processing centers will be closed on the 18th in observance of Patriots Day.