Senate mostly follows House plans to kill Obamacare taxes

Here’s a look at eight Affordable Care Act taxes that Republicans in both the House and Senate agree on eliminating.

Sen Chuck Schumer denounces Senate health care rewrite of House bill as meaner_Twitter

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), joined by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and a mostly hidden Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) held a press conference today to denounce as “meaner” their GOP Senate colleagues’ version of health care reform to replace Obamacare. (Photo courtesy Sen. Schumer’s Twitter account)

The Senate today finally revealed its version of Obamacare repeal and replace, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 or BCRA.

The 142-page document, which Senate leadership is describing as a discussion draft, is a rewrite of the House’s American Health Care Act, or AHCA.

Since it just was released this morning, folks are still poring over the Senate document to see where it differs from the House bill and whether it is, as the president and Democrat opponents have charged, mean or meaner than the House bill.

House and Senate agree on ending Obamacare taxes: As a tax geek/tax blogger, I’m focusing on the tax provisions of the Republican health care effort. In this regard, the Senate and House are pretty much in agreement.

Both chambers really, really hate the taxes created seven years ago to fund Obama’s signature Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, generally referred to in official circles as the ACA.

So, like the House bill that squeaked through that chamber May 4 by a 217-213 vote with 20 Republicans voting against their party’s legislation (I guess they didn’t go to the White House Rose Garden post-passage party), the Senate’s version would repeal several Obamacare taxes.

Below are eight ACA taxes to be eliminated and how the House and now Senate suggest their demises.

  1. Net investment income tax, or NIIT — This 3.8 percent surtax applies to individual taxpayers making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Those tax triggers are not adjusted annually for inflation, which means as individuals’ adjusted gross incomes’ increase, they could be caught by the NIIT. The Senate bill follows the House measure and would end this investment tax retroactively to the start of 2017.
  2. Additional 0.9 percent payroll tax — This fractional payroll tax is in addition to the 1.45 percent already collected from workers’ wages to go toward Medicare and also kicks in at the same $200,000/$250,000 income levels as the NIIT. Under the Senate’s health care measure, it would stay in place until 2023, meaning that higher income earners would see 2.35 percent of their pay above the threshold amount withheld for the next six years. That delayed repeal date is the same as in the House version.
  3. Medicine Cabinet Tax This moniker was given to the provision that limits the use of money from flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to pay for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Since 2011, the ACA has required FSA etc. owners to get a doctor’s prescription for the OTC meds in order to use their tax-advantaged funds. Both the House and Senate say that option will be reinstated. The House wants FSA money for OTC drugs available in 2017. The Senate pushes the effective date to 2018.
  4. Flexible Spending Account CapFSAs took another hit in 2013. That year the amount of money you could put into these accounts, which are added to via payroll deposits before any taxes are calculated, was capped at $2,500. Previously there was no limit on how much a worker could put into an FSA, but most companies used the $5,000 that statutorily applies to the sister dependent care spending account. Granted, not a lot of folks put five grand into their FSAs. But still, the policy irked folks. At least the limit is adjusted annually for inflation. For 2016 it was $2,550. This year, it’s bumped up to $2,600. Again, both Representatives and Senators want to repeal the FSA contribution limit beginning in 2018.
  5. Medical Deduction Threshold2013 was a big year for Obamacare taxes. That also was the year that the threshold many folks had to exceed in order to claim an itemized deduction for medical and dental expenses went up from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 10 percent. This hike means that folks younger than 65 had to have more medical costs in order to get the Schedule A deduction. Taxpayers 65 and older still got the 7.5 percent cutoff, but that changed this year. For 2017, all taxpayers must meet/exceed the 10 percent AGI threshold. Both the House and Senate would lower the AGI threshold for all taxpayers, regardless of age, retroactively to the start of the 2017 tax year. But where the House cuts it to medical costs exceeding 5.8 percent of income, the Senate goes back to the AGI trigger of 7.5 percent.
  6. Shared Responsibility TaxThis tax was created as a way to get us to comply with the ACA’s individual mandate; that’s the requirement that we all have minimal essential coverage during the full tax year. The tax penalty for noncompliance was low enough in the beginning that many folks found it more cost-efficient to pay the penalty rather than purchase insurance. The penalty, however, has increased each year. On 2016 tax returns filed this year, the maximum is $695 per uninsured month. It stays at that level thanks to low inflation for the 2017 tax year. Both the House and Senate bills repeal the individual mandate and associated tax. The effective date is retroactive to the beginning of 2016.
  7. Cadillac Plans Tax Obamacare imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost, generous employer-sponsored health coverage, also known as Cadillac plans. Under current law, the tax will go into effect in 2020. The House bill changes the effective date of the tax to Jan. 1, 2026. The Senate bill also suspends the Cadillac tax through 2025.
  8. Tanning Tax — House would repeal it effective July 1. The Senate, however, would make folks rely longer on the actual sun’s rays, not giving folks a fake bronzing break until the new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

Fluid tax dates: Of course, as some of those who helped craft the Senate health care measure note, it’s a starting point.

That means that although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) would like to hold a vote next week, some of the provisions in today’s document could change before or during the limited debate planned before that vote.

That could include changes are particularly possibly when it comes to the tax provisions’ effective dates. To what extent remains to be seen, since the exact ACA tax repeal dates will likely depend on how much money is needed to cover other associated repeal and replace costs.

And the dates of the tax changes definitely could change if the Senate bill clears that chamber and heads to conference with the House.  

Awaiting fiscal analysis: The dollar details of the Senate rewrite of the House bill won’t be known until next week. That’s when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), with assistance from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, says it will release its analysis and cost estimate of the bill

In analyzing the House’s version of the American Health Care Act, the CBO found that 23 million more Americans would become uninsured by 2026 under the GOP replacement plan for Obamacare. That’s part of the reason that the House’s AHCA is quite unpopular across the United States.

Will the Senate’s version face a similar fate? The Republican bill already is facing blow-back not only from Democratic opponents, but also some in the medical community and many in its own party.

More conservative GOP lawmakers in the Upper Chamber have come out against the bill in general and four Republican Senators have specifically said they won’t vote for or are leaning against voting for the bill. That’s not encouraging since a defection of only three GOP Senators would doom the bill. 

Looks like McConnell and crew have some arm twisting and deal making ahead of them.

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Testimony to Senate Small Business Committee for AICPA

On June 14, 2017, I had the privilege to testify on behalf of the AICPA before the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. The title of the hearing – Tax Reform: Removing Barriers to Small Business Growth. A goal of the hearing was for this committee to help the Senate Finance Committee know that they want to be sure tax reform helps small businesses and that such businesses are not forgotten in efforts to reduce the corporate tax rate.

The AICPA’s written testimony is at the hearing page and AICPA website. There is a good summary of the hearing in Accounting Today, “AICPA tells Senate corporate tax cuts should also go to small business,” Michael Cohn, 6/14/17.

In my 5 minutes, our AICPA testimony focused on:

  • Any rate reduction should apply not only to C corporations but also to other entity types (sole propreitors and passthrough entities).
  • The cash method of accounting should not be limited.
  • Small businesses should be allowed to continue to deduct interest expense.
  • The Section 195 start-up expensing amount should be inccreased.
  • The AMT should be repealed.
  • IRS should be modernized and a new executive-level practitioner services unit formed.
  • S. 540, mobile workforce legislation should be enacted (note that HR 1393 passed in the House on 6/21/17)

There is a video of the hearing at the committee website. It was an enjoyable experience and a nice opportunity to discuss tax reform and small business and hear of the concerns of the committee members.

What do you think about tax reform and small businesses?

10 tax tips for newlyweds

Regardless of which month you marry, there are and will be tax matters to  consider.

Relaxing after the ceremony_Richmond Park Wedding-Red Cloud Photography_Barney Moss via Flickr

Relaxing after the ceremony. (Photo by Barney Moss via Flickr)

Ever wonder why June is “the” wedding month? Me, too. So I looked it up. The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which I never realized was a go-to wedding planning resource, says that June is the most popular month to marry thanks to some ancient traditions.

The Roman goddess Juno, for whom the sixth month was named, was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing. So, says the Almanac, a wedding in Juno’s month was, and apparently still is, considered most auspicious.

The idea of June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, or May Day (May 1), young couples would pair off to court for three months and then be wed on the next Cross-Quarter Day (Lammas Day, August 1). But young hormones being what they are, the Almanac notes that the waiting period was shortened to mid-June and the popularity of June weddings was ensured.

So congrats and best wishes to all the newlyweds saying “I do” this month.

My wedding gift to you: To ensure your union is long and happy and without tax trouble, here’s a collection of tax matters to take into account as and after you and your true love tie the knot.

The 10 pieces of marital tax advice also are the Weekly Tax Tip for this third full week of the marriage month and come thanks to some help from the below graphic, which was created by tax information, software and services company Wolters Kluwer.

Wedding tax tips_CCH Wolters Kluwer graphic

Elaborating on some of the Wolters Kluwer tips and adding a couple of my own, here goes.

1. Pick your new filing status. As soon as the clerk or judge or clergy member said “I now pronounce you…” your filing status changed. You now are a married couple in the eyes of your state and the Internal Revenue Service. That means you no longer can file as a single taxpayer. You’ll have to choose between married filing jointly (most couples choose this) or married filing separately. This change in filing status is for the whole year, regardless of whether you marry on Jan. 1 or June 15 or Dec. 31.

2. Share everything, including taxes. If you do decide to file a joint return, and most married couples do, note that makes both of you equally responsible for what’s on that Form 1040. It’s called joint and several liability and is found in §6013(d)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This statute gives the IRS the ability to come after either spouse for payment of a tax bill, even the spouse who is in more dire financial circumstances.

3. Maybe, you don’t share taxes. I know, you’re madly in love and nothing will ever separate you. But maybe on April 15 you should look into filing two 1040s. Concerns about joint and several liability could be one reason for opting to use the married filing separate status. You also can check out my earlier post on when it might be wise for married couples to consider the separate filling option

4. Beware the marriage tax penalty. Or welcome the marriage tax bonus. Pledging your troth can work either way depending on the employment status of each partner and how much they make. My earlier post has the deets on marriage tax penalty or bonus situations.

5. Get tax-free financial help for the ceremony. You want your big day to be the most special ever. That’s likely to mean it also will be one of the most expensive days of your lives, too. But if you have well-off and generous family (or friends), they can help by giving you cash as a gift to use for your wedding. The federal gift tax exemption allows every cash-flush person to give several thousand dollars a year (the amount is adjusted annually for inflation) to anyone without tax implications to the recipients. For 2017 that amount is $14,000. If you and your intended get such gifts from your parents and grandparents, that’s a sizable sum that can be used to throw a super wedding. 

6. Consider the charitable side of marriage. Did you use a nonprofit’s hall to exchange your vows and made a donation to do so? It could be a tax deduction on your first joint return next year. So might donating excess wedding food or favors. Check out my earlier post on tax-smart ways to give back on your wedding day for additional charitable ideas in connection with your nuptials.

7. Take note of names. If one or both of you decide to change your name(s) after marriage, be sure to let the Social Security Administration know. File a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, to make the change. You can download the form, pick one up at your local SSA office or get one mailed to you by calling 800-772-1213. A mismatched name and tax identification number will pose some filing hassles, possible delaying a much needed refund.

8. Change your address: Are you moving into your spouse’s place or finding a home new to you both? Tell the IRS about your new address by filing Form 8822. Why? As the IRS increases its closer checking of returns to stop tax crooks from filing fraudulent returns, a different address from prior filing years could set off tax identity theft processing alarms. This notification will help the IRS know it’s really you but just at a new location.

9. Share the details with your workplace. Even if you didn’t invite your boss to the wedding, he or she also needs to know about your address and/or name changes. That’s the only way to ensure your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, has correct information. And while you’re thinking about it, adjust your withholding to account for your changed status. Also reassess what tax-advantage workplace benefits, like medical flexible spending account contributions, might be affected by your newly married life change.

10. Follow the tax rules regardless of gender. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015, same-sex couples have had the right to be married in all 50 states. That means that gay and lesbian married couples also follow the same federal tax laws as every other married pair in the country. The IRS has a special FAQs page for same-sex married couples. Most states have also since accepted the High Court’s and IRS’ decisions here. But given the current political shifts, things could change. So keep an eye on what’s happening in Washington, D.C., as well as in your state’s capital and tax department.

I know if you’re getting married this month, you’re preoccupied with things other than taxes. I totally understand. So I recommend that you bookmark this post so you can come back after your honeymoon. 




Catastrophe savings accounts could help AL, MS & SC homeowners weather hurricane damages & save taxes

Tropical Storm Cindy 20 June 2017_NOAA-NHC-GOES satellite

Tropical Storm Storm Cindy is now officially churning in the Gulf of Mexico, with a predicted landfall in a few days along the Texas-Louisiana border.

That track could, of course change. And as meteorologists on the Weather Channel note, “it’s not the name, but the rain.” Tropical system precipitation typically reaches beyond the actual low pressure system, often well inland of coastal properties, and produces dangerous flooding.

Such reports have come in from as far north as Atlanta today, with Cindy’s expanded rain bands causing highway flooding in that city.

Federal and state tax help for recovery efforts: As noted in earlier weather and tax-related posts, all of which are collected on the ol’ blog’s Natural Disasters special web page, you might be able to claim storm losses on your tax return as a casualty loss.

If the system is deemed a major disaster, you have tax time-shifting options that could let you amend a return and get tax relief help to put toward recovery efforts sooner.

Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina also offer tax help for storm victims via Catastrophe Savings Accounts, or CSAs. By contributing to these special accounts, a CSA owner can build a disaster fund and then use the money tax-free to pay certain eligible disaster expenses.

In some cases, the contributions also provide a tax deduction.

Some shared CSA attributes: In each state, the accounts must be specifically opened and designated to pay for catastrophe repairs and recovery. This means damages from windstorms, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes, high winds, flood and hail, regardless of whether a disaster is declared a major one by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The CSA must be tied to the account owner’s primary residence, not any additional homes, such as a beach vacation property. And only one account per home can be opened even if it is jointly owned by spouses.

If you contribute too much or use the funds for things other than eligible disaster expenses on your primary home, you’ll owe tax on the money and could face an added penalty.

The amounts that can be contributed and/or deducted are related to the residence’s hazard insurance policy deductible amount.

Here’s a quick look at the highlights of each of these state CSAs.

North-Flicker-woodpecker-YellowhammerAlabama: Residents of the Yellowhammer State can open a regular savings or money market account and deem it a catastrophe savings account. Such a designation means that the contributed money and its earnings must go to cover repair costs and losses from damage to the account owner’s principal residence.

The interest earned on the CSA is tax-free as long as the account owner doesn’t exceed the maximum contribution levels. Residents can even claim a personal income tax deduction for CSA contributions, subject to a cap based on their homeowner’s hazard policy’s deductible amount.

Basically, you can claim a deduction of up to $2,000 if your homeowner’s deductible is $1,000 or less, up to $15,000 if your home insurance policy deductible is more than $1,000 or up to the lesser amount of $250,000 or the value of your home if you self-insure.

You can find more information on the Alabama CSA is available at the state tax department’s special CSA FAQ web page. You also can check out the instructions for CSA claims in the Alabama tax return (Form 40) instruction booklet.

Mississippi: In the Magnolia State, homeowners can put up to $2,000 in a CSA if their home’s insurance deductible is less than or equal to $1,000.

If the insurance deductible is greater than $1,000, then the total amount that may be contributed to a Mississippi CSA is $15,000 or twice the amount of the deductible, whichever is less.


And in cases where a homeowner decides not to get insurance on his or her legal residence, then the total amount that may be contributed to a CSA is the lesser of $350,000 or the value of the taxpayer’s legal residence.

CSA money also can be used to pay your insurance deductible on your Mississippi legal residence as long as that policy covers hurricane, flood, windstorm or other “Catastrophic Event” damage

Mississippians can contribute to their CSAs over multiple years until the maximum limitation amount has been met.

And a tax deduction can be claimed against Mississippi state income.

You can find more on the Mississippi CSA rules at the state’s Department of Revenue special FAQ web page. The Mississippi Insurance Department also has more info on the state’s CSAs.

Sabal-Palm_South-Carolina state nicknameSouth Carolina: Money in a Palmetto State CSA can help account owners pay their home insurance policy’s deductible, as well as cover out-of-pocket costs related to a disaster. Those funds can be used to pay for qualified catastrophe expenses that result from a hurricane, flood, or windstorm event that has been declared an emergency by the governor.

The money contributed to a South Carolina CSA and the annual interest it earns are not subject to state income taxes if left in the account or used for qualified catastrophe expenses.

As with the other states, S.C. CSA contribution limits depend on your insurance deductible:

  • If your policy’s deductible is less than or equal to $1,000 you can contribute up to $2,000;
  • If your deductible is more than $1,000 you can contribute the lesser of $15,000 or twice the deductible amount; and
  • If you self-insure, you can contribute up to a maximum of $250,000, but amount may not exceed the value of your home.

The entire amount does not have to be contributed in one year, but total contributions for all years cannot exceed the maximum.

Any interest earned in a South Carolina CSA is exempt from state income tax.

The account holder, not the bank, must maintain documentation for income tax deductions and to verify that CSA withdrawals were used exclusively for qualified catastrophe expenses.

You can find more about South Carolina CSAs at the state’s official insurance department web page, as well as in the state’s CSA brochure.

As with all things tax, whether federal or state, make sure that a CSA is an appropriate and cost- and tax-effective move for your personal financial situation. If you have questions or concerns, talk with a local a tax pro about the possible tax benefits or problems you could encounter with a CSA.




Tropical storm season 2017 heats up. It’s time to get ready physically, fiscally and tax wise

Tropical Storm Bret radar image_avn0-lalo_NOAA-NHC

That colorful glob pictured above is Tropical Storm Bret. It formed this afternoon, kicking the 2017 Atlantic-Gulf of Mexico hurricane season into a higher gear.

While images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can give us — and by us, I mean professional meteorologists — an indication of a storm’s strength, what you and I really want to know is where the heck is this mess?

Tropical Storm Bret is born: The purple map lines in the image are a bit hard to see, but my U.S. readers can breathe easy, at least for now. Bret is off the coast of Venezuela. Sorry, South American readers.

The National Hurricane Center graphic below gives us a better idea of just where Tropical Storm Bret is situated and where it might go in the next few days. Sorry Central American readers.

Tropical Storm Bret forms 19 June 2017_National Hurricane Center graphic

The bigger concern for us in North America, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico if potential tropical disturbance #3.

Yep, that’s the official name right now, Monday, June 19, early evening. The system hasn’t coalesced enough to warrant even being designated by the NHC as a tropical depression.

Waiting for another possible storm: But keep your eyes on #3.

As the NHC graphic below issued this afternoon shows, it could become a tropical storm — the next name on the 2017 list is Cindy — and make landfall anywhere from the east Texas Gulf coast to western coastal Louisiana.

Potential tropical depression-storm-hurricane 2017-3 061917_National Hurricane Center

Get ready now: Yes, Bret is not an issue for U.S. residents. And it’s too soon to tell when, where, how strong or whether #3 even will become Cindy.

That’s why it’s the perfect time to get ready for hurricane season, which officially kicked off June 1. A subtropical system actually formed in May, taking the season’s first moniker as Tropical Storm Arlene.

When there’s no danger, you have plenty of time to get your finances and property ready for any impending storm.

Plus, grocery shelves are full of the items you’ll need. Stock up now, so that you don’t have to fight other frantic shoppers over the last loaf of bread or can of tuna or case of bottled water with a hurricane heading your way.

You also need to make some storm-related financial moves, like double checking your insurance coverage or getting a policy if you don’t have one. In most states, insurers won’t issue a policy when a storm is nearing your location. Also do a pre-storm inventory, just in case you need the info to file an insurance claim.

Make sure you have or start a recovery account. While you can claim storm losses on your tax return  — and possibly amend a filing to get tax relief cash back sooner if the storm is declared a major one — you’ll still need to pay some upfront post-hurricane costs.

You can find my many previous posts (including the ones linked in the previous paragraphs) on these storm preparation and recovery considerations on the ol’ blog’s special Natural Disasters resource page. Check it out now, too, before you’re glued to your TV or computer screen tracking the path of a storm.

Be safe! And most of all, stay safe.

If your local and state officials say evacuate, get out. You’ll know just where you want to go to await the storm’s passage if you plot out your hurricane evacuation route now, too.




Tax telephone scam script rewritten to include mentions of fake IRS certified letters, EFTPS payment option


Identity thieves are once again targeting taxpayers, this time with a twist on the pervasive telephone tax scam.

In its original version, which the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies have dubbed the biggest tax scam ever, crooks pretend to be IRS employees and demand immediate payment by prepaid debit card or wire transfer of a purported tax owed by the victims.

3 tweaks to telephone scam: The ID thieves are still impersonating IRS agent and they still want our money ASAP via a debit card. But this time they’ve refined their fake story in three ways regarding the supposed unpaid tax bill.

  1. The calling scammer tells the victim that the IRS mailed two certified letters about the purported due taxes, but they letters were returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens to arrest the victim if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card.
  2. To give the criminal ruse an added veneer or authenticity, this scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the online tax payment option EFTPS, which stands for Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. EFTPS is a very useful automated tax payment system. I’ve used it for many years and I can tell you that it does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card.
  3. Finally, the victim is warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

3 responses to telephone scam: There also is a three-step response to this latest telephonic tax-related attempt to steal your money.

  1. Hang up. Immediately. Before you give out any information to the calling crook.
  2. If you have any concern about a possible legitimate overdue tax bill, call the IRS directly toll free at 1-800-829-1040. You also can check your tax account information online through’s expanded access option.
  3. Report the call to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can use TIGTA’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or call the tax watchdog office toll free at 1-800-366-4484. The FTC would like to get your scam report via its FTC Complaint Assistant at Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes section.

No safe place: The IRS says this latest scam has been reported across the entire United States as we’ve headed into what should be a slow season for taxes and tax scams.

But, as IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted in announcing this latest criminal enterprise, “scams and schemes do not take the summer off.”

“This is a new twist to an old scam,” added Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”

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Thanking dad on Father’s Day for all of his support

Dad and dancing baby_Wifflegif via giphyDancing with Daddy (Courtesy via Giphy)

Those of us lucky enough to have (or have had) great dads are well aware of all the support they provide.

There are the traditional demonstrations, like teaching us to dance (like the dad above, sort of) or ride a bicycle and later to drive a car.

And of course, there is Dad’s perpetually open wallet, especially for us daughters who will always be our fathers’ little girls.

But families have changed over the years.

More single fathers: Of the 72.2 million fathers in the United States, just more than a third (34 percent) were married and living in families with children younger than 18. Those figures (and all the others I’ll cite in this post) are from data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

A small segment of those pops — around 209,000 — were stay-at-home dads last year, taking full-time care of around 392,000 children younger than age 15. These men stayed out of the labor force for at least one year, primarily to allow their wives to work outside the home.

Another 2 million men last year were single fathers in charge of the care for their minor children. About 40 percent of these fathers were divorced, 38 percent were never married, 16 percent were separated and 6 percent were widowed.

Divorced, but still supporting: When divorce happens and kids are involved, among the issues to be settled are (1) who gets primary custody of the children and (2) who mostly pays for their care.

It used to be that men were the main breadwinners and after divorce, they continued contributing a portion — sometimes a substantial amount, according to some of my formerly married father friends — of their income to the care of their kids even when they weren’t the live-in, or custodial, parent.

Nowadays, gender equality has made inroads into all aspects of life, including marital splits. One of every six custodial parents, or 17.5 percent, last year was a father.

And with that shift, more women are now paying child support and alimony.

The Census Bureau’s report Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2013, found that fathers who had custody of their kids during that year received $3.1 billion in child support.

Not getting or paying what’s due: However, these dads didn’t get everything the courts said they should. The Census Bureau study also found that these fathers were due $4.2 billion.

But men still are making the larger share of post-divorce payments for the care of their kids.

When it came to fathers paying child support to the moms who had primary custody of the children, those mothers received $19.4 billion of the $28.7 billion in support that was due.

As for missing some payments, again women and men have attained some more equal, albeit not the best, footing.

The percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due them in 2013 was 40.7 percent. That’s not statistically different from the corresponding percentage of 46.2 percent for custodial mothers.

But since it’s Father’s Day, the $19.4 billion that the data show dads did pay back in 2013 in child support is this Father’s Day week’s By the Numbers figure.

And since this is a tax blog, I must note that unlike alimony, the separate child support payments to the receiving parent who has custody of the kids is not taxable income. 

Other types of help: In addition to making cash payments, the parent who doesn’t have custody of the kids also often provide supports in other, noncash ways.

Noncash support provided by noncustodial parent_US Census Bureau 2014 report

When it came to dads with custody of the children, more than 70 percent of them got some noncash help to cover some of the kids’ needs.

As for dads making the payments, they contributed such noncash child support in almost 50 percent of the divorce situations.

The social, psychological and financial debates continue as to the effects of divorce on children. But one thing that is certain is that when both parents remain at least civil after the separation when it comes to caring for their children, everybody wins.

If you’re spending time today with your dad, regardless of your family situation, give him a hug and be sure to thank him for all he does for you, financial and otherwise.

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