The following blog post is for people who meet all of the following criteria:
- An adjusted gross income (AGI) of greater than $150,000 for a household or $75,000 for an individual in 2019
- An AGI of greater than $150,000 and less than $182,100 for a household or greater than $75,000 and less than $91,550 for an individual in 2020
- Have not yet filed taxes for 2020 (or would be willing to amend)
- Have some cash or investments outside of tax-advantaged accounts that could be used to make contributions to tax-advantaged accounts
If all of the above applies to you, congratulations! You might be able to reduce your 2020 AGI enough to qualify for or increase your payment from the forthcoming stimulus checks! (If none of this applies to you, please share it via email or social media so that others might have the opportunity to use this information to their benefit!) Here’s how this might work:
How To Qualify For The Latest Stimulus Payment
First of all, unless you’re nearly prepared to file your return as you are reading this blog post, you probably won’t be able to file in time to receive your full stimulus check or deposit in the first round of payments. However, you will have the opportunity to receive your payment either on something called the “Additional Payment Determination Date” (which will be the earlier of 90 days after the 2020 calendar year filing deadline or September 1st, 2021) or when you go to do your 2021 taxes if you filed your 2020 taxes in time but, for whatever reason, didn’t receive your payment on the Additional Payment Determination Date.
So, what can you do now to reduce your 2020 AGI before you file? You have until April 15th to make Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions and/or deductible Traditional IRA contributions for the 2020 tax year. If you qualify for an HSA contribution, you can contribute and deduct up to $3,550 for an individual or $7,100 for a family. In addition, if you are over the age of 55, you can contribute and deduct an additional $1,000. The rules around qualifying for a deductible traditional IRA contribution are a bit more complex, but, if you do qualify for the full deduction, you can contribute up to $6,000 per person, plus an additional $1,000 if you are over the age of 50. Let me show you the textbook example of how this strategy might benefit someone.
- Married couple, both age 55 with two dependent children
- 2019 AGI of $160,000
- 2020 AGI of $172,100
- Eligible for a family HSA contribution and fully deductible IRA contributions but haven’t yet contributed to either
- $200,000 between bank accounts and taxable brokerage account
In this example, if this couple were to contribute the maximum to each of their IRAs ($7,000 for each of them) plus the maximum ($8,100) to their HSA, they would be able to reduce their AGI (and their taxable income) by a total of $22,100. This would allow them to go from being eligible for $0 in stimulus checks, to being eligible for the full amount of $1,400 per person for a total of $5,600. In addition, assuming they took the standard deduction, they would be reducing their federal taxes by 22% for a tax savings of $4,862. In total, the $22,100 they used to max out their IRAs and HSA will have netted them an additional $10,462, for an effective benefit of just over 47 cents for every dollar they contributed (and that’s before we take any potential state income tax savings into account)! *
Putting It All Together
Of course, that is an extreme example that will apply to relatively few people, but the bottom line is that some version of that will apply to quite a lot of people. If you think you might be one of those people, I would strongly recommend that you reach out to your tax professional to see what they say. You can also feel free to send me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. Thanks for reading!
The information provided here is for general information only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
Gateway Wealth Management, LLC and LPL Financial do not provide tax advice.
*This is a hypothetical example based on U.S. federal tax laws as of 03/10/2021. Your results may vary.