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Tax Surprises for Newly Retired: Five Surprises to Know About

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Here are five events that can upset your retirement finances:

1. Health emergency and Long-term Care. When a simple procedure could cost thousands, health care costs can put a huge dent in your plan. Long-term care can cost thousands per month. Have you planned for this? If your health insurance is not adequate you may need to pull money out of your retirement plan to pay the bills. While this withdrawal may not be subject to a penalty, it might be subject to income tax if the funds are from a pre-tax account.

Tip: Look into creative ways to enhance your health insurance coverage including supplemental health insurance and prescription drug cost coverage. Consider long-term care insurance and other alternative ways to reduce your potential living needs.

2. Taxability of Social Security benefits. If you have excess earnings, your Social Security benefits could be reduced. Even worse, if you are still working, your benefits could be subject to income tax.

Tip: If this impacts you, consider conducting a tax planning session to better understand your options including the possibility of delaying the receipt of Social Security benefits.

3. Your pension plan. Understand if your pension is in good financial health. Often pensions will offer a lump-sum payout option for you. Should you take it?

Tip: Review your pension plan’s annual statement. How solid is it? If there are risks, consider cash out alternatives and planning for the potential drop in future income.

4. Minimum Required Distribution (RMD). Forgot to take your minimum required distribution from your retirement plans this year? The tax bite could be quite a surprise as the penalty on the amount not withdrawn is 50%!

Tip: Select a memorable date (like your birthday) to review your RMD and take action so this tax surprise does not impact you.

5. Future Tax Rates. The federal government is spending over $1 trillion more than it brings in each year. Cash starved states are looking for new tax revenue. Don’t be surprised when future tax rates continue to rise during your retirement.


·        Create a retirement plan with higher state and federal tax rates

·        Plan for increases in health care costs through Medicare

·        Plan for more tax on Social Security benefits

·        Plan for higher capital gain and dividend taxes (now 20% versus 15%)


For assistance with this or other tax or accounting matters please contact us at 201-947-8081 or 646-688-2807, or email us at



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