Widow’s Penalty Pitfall

Compared to past joint tax return filing with their deceased spouse, a surviving spouse may land in a higher marginal tax bracket – referred to as the “widow’s penalty.” Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made the widow’s penalty more severe in many instances.

With this in mind, clients, even in their 70s or 80s, may consider greater traditional IRA withdrawals or Roth IRA conversions as a means to take advantage of preferable marginal tax rates. It is important to act while both spouses are alive.