Ask the Expert: Medicare and income tax returns

Your Medicare premium is usually based on information Your Medicare premium is usually based on information in the income tax return you filed two years earlier. Photo Credit: iStock

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In two of the past three years, I've received fees as executor of an estate. This income has pushed my Medicare insurance premiums into a higher category. Will these premiums eventually return to normal? Do I have to take action?

Based on what you say, you don't need to take any action.

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Your Medicare premium is based on the most recent tax return available to the Social Security Administration, which is typically 2 years old. In other words, your 2014 premium is based on information in your 2012 tax return. Two years after your income returns to normal, so will your Medicare premium.

In some situations, however, readers should ask the Social Security Administration to reconsider the income level that determined their current Medicare premium. For example, you should notify the agency if you amended your 2012 tax return; if you've married, divorced or become widowed; if you or your spouse stopped working or work fewer hours; if you lost income-producing property because of a disaster; if your pension plan was terminated or reorganized; or if you received a settlement from an employer or former employer who went bankrupt, closed or reorganized.

In 2014, the monthly Part B Medicare premium is $104.90 for individuals who had $85,000 or less of 2012 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with $170,000 or less of 2012 MAGI. Individuals with between $85,001 and $107,000 of 2012 MAGI and joint filers with between $170,001 and $214,000 pay $146.90 a month. Thereafter, the premium rises on a sliding scale. The highest charge is $334.90 a month, paid by individuals with more than $214,000 of 2012 MAGI and joint filers with more than $428,000 of 2012 MAGI.

The bottom line Your Medicare premium is usually based on information in the income tax return you filed two years earlier.

Websites with more information 1.usa.gov/M52MAY and 1.usa.gov/1eaJ5SZ

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TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to Ask the Expert/Act 2, Newsday Newsroom, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747, or email act2@newsday.com. Include your name, address and phone number. Questions can be answered only in this column. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your own advisers for your specific needs.

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