John Bullis: Net investment income tax
August 11, 2018
It's bad enough to pay income tax but Form 8960, Net Investment Income Tax for Individuals, Estates and Trust, is an additional amount to pay in certain circumstances.
That form computes the extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax that applies if the "passive income from interest, dividends, annuities, and some rental income, royalties, some partnership, S corporation and trust income that is not trade or business income" is big enough.
The Net Investment income doesn't include trade or business income or wages.
It doesn't apply to non-resident aliens.
It doesn't usually apply to S corporation income because that's usually trade or business income.
Real estate professionals with rental income will usually not be taxed if they materially participated in the rental real estate activity.
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Dispositions (sales) of interest ownership in partnerships or S corporations is usually not subject to the Net Investment Income Tax. If the basis of the item sold is different for the Net Investment Income Tax than the basis for regular income tax, then an adjustment is to be calculated.
It's good interest earned by a trade or business is excluded from the computation.
The 20 pages of instructions for Form 8960 are complicated and sometimes refer you to other forms and/or publications. This extra tax is complicated, but it collects a lot of money.
The tax computation on that form results in the additional Medicare tax that's then reported on Form 1040, page 2, line 54 for year 2017.
If your Net Investment Income is less than your "Modified Adjusted Gross Income" and the "Threshold Based on your Filing Status" ($250,000 for Married Filing Jointly, $200,000 for Single or Head of Household filing status) then the Net Investment Income Tax is zero. This extra tax is mainly for folks with 'high' income.
This extra tax doesn't apply for most taxpayers. It's just another way Congress charges more tax on high income taxpayers.
Did you hear "Instead of focusing on that circumstance that you cannot change, focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can change." Joy Page
John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser who has served Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs.