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Tax Alert: Plan Now for Changes Coming in 2013 - Part I

What's the summertime forecast? From a tax perspective, the outlook calls for planning now to prepare for changes gathering on the horizon - specifically, provisions currently expected to take effect in January 2013. Here are four new rules to think about during your mid-year tax review.

1. A decrease in tax-free contributions to your flexible spending account. Starting in January 2013, the maximum you can contribute to your FSA will be $2,500. In addition, the "use it or lose it" feature of FSAs means you won't be able to carry any 2012 excess remaining in your account into 2013 (unless your plan provides a 2½ month grace period for using prior-year funds).

Planning move: Schedule elective medical procedures during the last half of 2012.

2. An increase in the threshold for claiming the itemized medical expenses deduction. Do you itemize? For 2012, you can claim a deduction on your federal income tax return for qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Beginning in 2013, if you're under age 65, your medical expenses will have to exceed 10% of your AGI to be deductible. This is the same percentage applied to qualified medical expenses when calculating the alternative minimum tax.

Planning move: Review your itemized deductions for 2012 to determine whether accelerating or delaying deductions makes the most sense for you. What to keep in mind: phase-outs and other limitations to itemized deductions that were in effect in prior years, as these may return in 2013.

Part II of this blog post will be published soon so come back soon to review more 2013 changes.

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