Biz Directory
Contact Us
Mental Health
Financial advice
Youth Matters
Techno Corner

Kamlesh Patel
CRUNCHING ‘EM NUMBERS: Note these 2009 tax deadlines on your calendar


Mark these dates as red letter days on your 2009 calendar if any of the following upcoming tax deadlines apply to you or your business.

- Feb. 2 - Employers must furnish 2008 W-2 statements to employees. 1099 information statements must be furnished to payees by payers. (Deadline for providing 1099-Bs and consolidated statements to customers is Feb.17.)

- Feb. 2 - Employers must generally file 2008 federal unemployment tax returns and pay any tax due.

- March 2 - Payers must file information returns (such as 1099s) with the IRS. (March 31 is the deadline if filing electronically.)

- March 2 - Employers must send W-2 copies to the Social Security Administration. (March 31 is the deadline if filing electronically.)

- March 2 - Farmers and fishermen who did not make 2008 estimated tax payments must file 2008 tax returns and pay taxes in full.

- March 16 - 2008 calendar-year corporation income tax returns are due.

- April 15 - Individual income tax returns for 2008 are due unless you file for an automatic extension. Taxes owed are due regardless of extension.

- April 15 - 2008 partnership returns are due.

- April 15 - 2008 annual gift tax returns are due.

- April 15 - Deadline for making your 2008 IRA and education savings account contributions.

- April 15 - First installment of 2009 individual estimated tax is due.

- June 15 - Second installment of 2009 individual estimated tax is due.

- Sept. 15 - Third installment of 2009 individual estimated tax is due.

- Oct. 15 - Deadline for filing your 2008 individual tax return if you filed for an extension of the April 15 deadline.

Lame-duck Congress passes emergency pension tax relief

One of the final pieces of tax relief legislation passed by Congress in 2008 was the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008. Approved by Congress on December 11, 2008, the bill temporarily suspends required minimum distributions from 401(k) plans, IRAs, and similar retirement accounts.

Normally, you must begin withdrawing money from your retirement accounts once you reach age 70½. The minimum amount you must take is computed using IRS tables. These tables provide percentages that are applied to the value of your retirement account as of Dec. 31 of the year preceding your distribution. (If you're still employed at age 70½, you may be able to delay withdrawals from your current employer's plan until you actually retire.)

The deadline for taking your first distribution can be delayed until April 1 of the year following the year in which you reached age 70½, though a delayed distribution will be credited to the prior year, and you'll have to take a second distribution by Dec. 31 of the current year.

With the economic downturn, most retirees saw a steep decline in the value of their retirement accounts.

Without the relief provided in this new legislation, retirees were faced with having to take an annual distribution from an already depleted retirement account and paying income tax on the amount withdrawn.

Retirees would then have the problem of getting their retirement account to recover enough to fund their remaining years in retirement. Failure to take at least the minimum required amount out of their retirement plan left them facing a 50 percent penalty tax on the shortfall.

The relief legislation lets retirees defer taking a withdrawal from their retirement accounts for 2009 without triggering the 50 percent penalty. It's important to note that the law does not affect required minimum distributions for 2008.

Among other provisions in the law is an easing in the funding requirements for employer pension plans and a requirement for all qualified plans to allow non-spouse rollovers.

Use 2009 IRS numbers in your planning

The tax law requires that certain tax numbers be adjusted for inflation each year. Use these 2009 numbers in your 2009 tax planning.

- The standard mileage rate for business driving dropped from 58.5¢ per mile to 55¢ per mile. The rate for medical and moving mileage drops from 27¢ per mile to 24¢ per mile. The general rate for charitable mileage remains at 14¢ per mile.

- The first-year expensing limit for the purchase of business equipment dropped from $250,000 to $133,000. The expensing election phases out once total purchases for 2009 exceed $530,000. Look for Congress to reinstate the higher 2008 limits for 2009 in a new economic stimulus package.

- The maximum earnings subject to Social Security tax increased from $102,000 to $106,800.

- The "nanny tax" threshold increased from $1,600 to $1,700 for 2009. If you pay household workers more than this amount during the year, you're responsible for payroll taxes.

- The "kiddie tax" threshold goes up from $1,800 to $1,900. If your child under age 19 (under age 24 for students) has more than $1,900 of unearned income in 2009 (e.g., dividends and interest income), the excess could be taxed at your highest rate.

- The maximum individual retirement account (IRA) contribution you can make in 2009 remains unchanged at $5,000 if you're under age 50 and at $6,000 if you are 50 or older.

- The maximum amount of wages employees can put into a 401(k) plan increased from $15,500 to $16,500. The maximum allowed for SIMPLE plans increased to $11,500. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute up to $22,000 to a 401(k) and $14,000 to a SIMPLE plan.

- The estate tax exemption increased to $3.5 million for 2009, but the top estate tax rate remains at 45 percent. The annual gift tax exclusion increased from $12,000 to $13,000.

Kamlesh H. Patel, CPA, can be reached at (813) 949-8889 or e-mail or

Seema Ramroop

We all know the importance of saving to reach our financial goals. But how do you start saving? The first step is putting your financial house in order. Taking control of your finances takes some discipline, but the sooner it's done, the greater the potential to reach your goals. The following paragraphs contain some useful tips to help you get started.

Get your spending under control

To maximize the amount of money available for investing for the future, you need to bring expenses down to a comfortable level. You may be surprised how much is being spent unwisely if you analyze where your money is going. To do this, write down in your daily planner all your expenditures. Whenever you reach for your wallet, jot down the amount.

Keep track for three months, then review the results. Take note of necessary expenses you cannot avoid (rent/mortgage, student/car loans, car insurance, etc.), but pay particular attention to the ones over which you have control (clothing, dining out, entertainment, etc.). You may find it possible to pare down your spending on luxuries without sacrificing your lifestyle. Remember, each extra dollar that you save can be invested in your future.

Have a contingency plan in place

While it's great to have a positive outlook toward the future, it's important always to be prepared for an unforeseen event. Developing a financial contingency strategy can give you comfort. Whether it's the loss of a job, a disabling injury or some other crisis, these types of hardships can put a strain on your finances. Begin by outlining all your monthly expenses for essentials: food, shelter, utilities, transportation, insurance, etc.

Then begin accumulating an emergency fund sufficient to cover those expenses for six months. It's best to maintain this fund in a liquid, more conservative vehicle such as a money market account. It's also a good idea to reduce your debt, particularly on high-interest items. Another prudent step would be to review your life insurance and disability income insurance plans to be sure that they are adequate for your needs.

Establish your financial goals

It's important to consider seriously what you would like to achieve and what is required financially to reach those goals. Your goals can be categorized as short-term (such as a purchasing a new car or home), more intermediate-term (financing your children's education, starting your own business), or long-term (retiring in comfort, leaving a legacy for your heirs).

When deciding upon your goals, you should be as specific, and as realistic, as possible. Once you have determined your goals, you should prioritize them, judging which ones are the most crucial and which are less important.

Make a plan and put it into action With your goals established, the next logical step is putting together a financial strategy that may help you achieve those goals. It's critical that you start early, because the longer the time horizon, the more likely you are to reach your objectives.

With the multitude of investment opportunities and financial services available today, it's wise to seek financial help. A trained investment professional can provide information on a wide range of investment options, answer your questions and then work with you to help create a strategy that may help turn your goals into reality.

Seema Ramroop, financial advisor at Morgan Stanley in Palm Harbor, can be reached at (727) 773-4629 or e-mail

Contact Information
The Editor:
Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site. Copyright © 2004 Khaas Baat.

Anything that appears in Khaas Baat cannot be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by Khaas Baat contributors are their own and do not reflect the publisher's opinion.

Khaas Baat reserves the right to edit and/or reject any advertising. Khaas Baat is not responsible for errors in advertising or for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. Khaas Baat is published by Khaas Baat Communications.