Pension Matters

State Employees Retirement Fund
Most Recent Market Value | Michigan Treasury Bureau of Investments

February 2018

Tax Information

Michigan Department of Treasury reminds taxpayers the 2017 tax year will not be affected when tax season begins later this month. Taxpayers should file their taxes like they have in previous years when the state Treasury Department begins accepting 2017 state income tax returns onáJan. 29. Any changes to tax laws will be experienced during the 2018 tax year and next year’s state income tax filing season.

For the 70% or so of taxpayers who claimed the standard deduction last year, the state refund reported on the 1099 is 100% tax free. It’s also tax free if you claimed the state sales tax deduction in lieu of the state income tax write-off. And, even if you itemized and claimed the income tax deduction, part of the refund may be tax free. There’s a worksheet in the instruction packet. Take the time to run through it to protect yourself against an expensive mistake. Read more at www.kiplinger.com.

Free Tax Help

Seniors and individuals with functional needs may qualify for free tax preparation help from IRS-trained volunteers or Tax Counseling for the Elderly preparers. For information about free tax help, go toáwww.michiganfreetaxhelp.orgáor dial 2-1-1.

To learn more about Michigan’s individual income tax or to download forms, go toáwww.michigan.gov/incometax.

Alert from Treasury On Scams

Treasury will never:

  • Initiate a phone call or email to ask for personal information.
  • Call or email to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, Treasury will first send a bill through the U.S. mail to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Michigan Taxes

The state of Michigan’s largest sources of tax revenue are projected to bring in $2.1 billion more during the current fiscal year than they collected just two years ago, according to officials. Read more at http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com.

Robo Calls

Adding your number to the Do Not Call registry (www.donotcall.gov) will deflect live sales calls from legitimate telemarketers. However, it won’t stop scammers or calls for debt collection, surveys and more. Check your home-phone provider about blocking individual numbers or enabling Anonymous Call Rejection. If you get your home-phone service from an internet provider, such as Comcast Xfinity or Verizon Fios, try Nomorobo (www.nomorobo.com). (For other suggestions, go toáwww.ustelecom.orgáand click on “Sampling of Tools.”) (Author Comment: I use Nomorobo and it helps. Doesn’t stop them all but catches quite a few. Your phone rings once then no more. So don’t just and run on the first ring.)

Read more at www.kiplinger.com.

Possible Help for Caregivers

A bill that requires the federal government to develop a strategy to support the 40 million Americans who care for a loved one is on its way to the president’s desk after passing the Senate on Monday.

The bill á— the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engageá(RAISE) Family Caregivers Actá— hadápassed the Houseálate last year.áIt directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create an advisory council charged with making recommendations on the strategy to support family caregivers. The blueprint, which must be developed within 18 months, would address financial and workplace issues, respite care and other ways to support caregivers. Read more at AARP.org.

Robust 2017 Market Lowers Assumed Rate of Return for State Retirement Systems

LANSING, Mich. – WitháState of Michigan Retirement Systems’ investments receiving returns of more than 13 percent in 2017, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) has lowered the assumed rate of return to reduce the overall risk for state retirees and employees vested in the pension system.

The change was made under the new Dedicated Investment Gains policy adopted by state retirement boards and DTMB Director David L. DeVries this past summer. See Press Release on line at Department of Treasury.

Volunteers Needed

Tri County Council on Aging (TCOA) Dining Sites need volunteers! Volunteers may be greeters, help serve the meals, or may provide help with the programming. Volunteers with a particular talent or interest, such as crafts, music,áetc. are also needed toáprovideáentertainment at the dining sites. If you are interested in this, please callá517-887-1393áor fill out an application atáwww.tcoa.org.

Health Care Affordability and Social Security BenefitsľA Comparison

Posted:á27 Jan 2018 05:48 AM PST
Half of Medicare beneficiaries’ average Social Security income is projected to beáconsumed by out-of-pocket health costs by 2030, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. This projection is up from 41% found in the prior survey edition (2013), and points to a growing problem for America’s seniors. The impact on seniors is made even more significant by the observation that the portionáconsumed by those 85 and older is double that of those in the 65-74 age bracket. The projections also imply a heavier burden on senior women, since women on Medicare are projected to spent more out of pocket on health care costs than men, on average.

KFF’s “analysis shows that out-of-pocket health care costs are a substantial and growing burden for many people with Medicare,” something that does not bode well for America’s seniors. The full report can be accessedá at www.kff.org.

Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at jmorse10@comcast.net or 517-886-9323.

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