they have or paying out dividends," Wilcox said. "That was money
that was earmarked six months ago for growth."
White said some high earners who own S corporations, or small businesses with profits and losses passed through to individual tax returns, will take less income in 2013 to avoid the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax. That could mean less spending in the local economy, and also less revenue than the federal government expected to take in with the tax.
What's more, the new tax comes amid negotiations to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for high earners, and that could hold back the labor market.
"In terms of hiring, I think all of our clients in particular are afraid of the tax cliff more than they're afraid of new (Obamacare) taxes, although all of it put together is not making them feel secure tax-wise," White said.
Then there's the medical device excise tax, a 2.3 percent levy on the sales price of taxable medical devices, excluding eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids. Las Vegas isn't a big center for medical-device manufacturing, but the fee is relevant to local patients because industry observers say new taxes would be passed on to consumers. And the Medical Device Manufacturers Association said on Dec. 5 that the tax, which would raise $29 billion through 2019, has already cost the sector jobs.
The device tax may not stand: The House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal it in June, and though the Senate hasn't taken up the issue, 17 Senate Democrats on Dec. 10 urged a postponement in the tax to seek more clarification from the IRS on how it would be implemented.
It's not just tax rates that are changing after Jan. 1. Some write-offs and credits are set to adjust as well.
FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS
Consumers with flexible spending accounts will see new limits on how much they can contribute. The accounts, which let people sock away pretax cash for uncovered health expenses such as deductibles and dental care, will be capped at $2,500 a year in contributions.
Until now, there has been no legal cap on savings in the plans.
The idea behind the cap is to boost revenue by decreasing pre- tax contributions. Forecasts say the rule will raise $13 billion through 2019.
It's not the first time Obamacare has altered the regulations behind flexible spending accounts. As of 2011, consumers no longer could use their savings to buy over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup and allergy pills.
White said the modification could be "quite a cut" for families accustomed to putting away more tax-free money to pay for out-of- pocket costs.
"When you talk about medical expenses and co-pays for a family of four, $2,500 doesn't actually go very far," she said.
But employees can open separate health savings accounts to recover some of their lost savings opportunities, White added. HSAs, which typically come with high-deductible insurance plans, also let consumers save tax-free dollars. The 2013 limit for HSA contributions is $3,250 for an individual and $6,450 for a family.
Plus, spouses can each have a flexible spending account, and individuals who hold two jobs can have an FSA at each workplace, if they're offered.
If you spend enough on out-of-pocket health costs to write off your expenses, expect to meet a higher deductible threshold in 2013.
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