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How to Calculate The New 3.8% Medicare Surtax

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December 6th, 2012

One of our readers asked the following question:

Could you possibly give some examples on this new Medicare surtax might be calculated? Thank you.”

 The new Medicare surtax applies on the lessor of:

  • Net investment income, or
  • The amount of adjusted gross income in excess of $250,000 ($200,000 single)

Investment income comprises primarily interest, dividends, annuities, rents, passive income and capital gains.  Let’s assume a farm couple has schedule F income of $300,000, interest, dividends and capital gains totaling $25,000 and cash rents of $150,000.  First step is to determine their total income which is $475,000.   This amount less $250,000 equals $225,000.  That is the maximum that would be subject to the tax.  Their investment income is $25,000 plus $150,000 or a total of $175,000.  This amount is less than $225,000, therefore, their Medicare surtax is $175,000 times 3.8% or $6,650. 

Their schedule F income is subject to regular self-employment tax on the first $250,000 of farm income.  The excess of $50,000 would be subject to the additional .9% Medicare surtax or an additional $450.  Therefore, the total extra Medicare tax for 2013 is $7,100.

Now lets assume their schedule F income is only $150,000.  Their total income would be $325,000 which means the maximum amount subject to the 3.8% tax is only $75,000 or $2,850.

In brief, if your adjusted gross income is less than $250,000, you will not be subject to the tax.  If you are over this amount, most likely some of your income will be subject to the tax.

You will also be able to offset part of your investment income with certain itemized deductions.  We will do a post on how that is calculated later on.

This Medicare surtax most likely will be around no matter what happens with the Fiscal Cliff situation. 

Paul Neiffer, CPA

Paul Neiffer

Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at agweb.com. Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation.

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