RPSEA President, James Pappas
In practice our jobs require us to oversee the technical aspects of each project, review the deliverable materials for accuracy and legibility, gather the various volunteer committees and groups to recommend actions, and otherwise provide advice or assistance to anyone along the program chain who might require it. Our goal is to ensure that all contractual deliverable items are met and that documentation is of the highest quality for the benefit of our members.
All of these efforts are meant to continue to provide first class service to our members. It is you, the representatives of our member companies, universities, and labs, who must see and extract value to keep RPSEA relevant. We recognize that in low product price environments such as this one, additional pressures are placed on everyone to reduce costs - this fact is not lost on us. However, the associated pause that industry inevitably sees at times like today provides opportunities to concentrate on inefficiencies and technology gaps, and to redouble efforts to shore them up.
RPSEA will continue to have invoice request authority to the Federal government through the remainder of the 999 program. Following relative project invoice submittals and approval by NETL, RPSEA is charged with consolidating 999 program invoices into one single monthly request from the Federal government. Once it is processed we disburse the funds to the projects, just as we have done in the past.
There is still quite a bit of work going on in the Section 999 Program. There are 10 active projects in the onshore Small Producer Program element, 21 active projects in the Ultra-Deepwater Program element, and 20 active projects in the onshore Unconventional Resources Program element. All of these projects must be completed by September 30, 2016. It’ll be a race to the finish; I can assure you.
Beyond our Section 999 Program we continue to be involved in the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) when called upon and the Injection and Tracking of Micro Seismic Emitters to Optimize UOG Development grant. We are also continuing to try to develop several joint industry partnership (JIP) projects and periodically meet with people from around the globe who have fantastic concepts to share with us. The current industry environment is a difficult one in which to develop projects—it seems like everyone is cutting back, laying off, or shutting down—but history and wisdom tells us that this too shall pass and there will come a time when our world clamors for more energy that it cannot get enough of economically. Therefore we must press on.
Speaking of pressing on, our Board of Directors has been working tirelessly to find new sources of income within our niche. They are in the midst of undertaking a monumental effort to work with governmental agencies and develop a follow-up R&D program that RPSEA might bid on. While there are no guarantees that RPSEA would be selected if such a program were developed, I feel that our success, which is largely attributed to our members’ volunteer efforts and willingness to share your knowledge, should place RPSEA at the forefront. This effort by our Board members will likely require the assistance and support of you at some point, and we will keep you apprised when your voices are needed.
Legend: * booth at exhibition
For additional information and to register for the RPSEA-sponsored events please log on to our website (www.rpsea.org) and click on Events and Calendar.
Thank you once again for your continued support in our programs. Your RPSEA staff is here to serve its members. I urge each of you to remain engaged. I’ve said it before but this is worth repeating: One only gets out of a program what they willingly put into it.
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new members, Quest Integrity Group, LLC, Powerin, LLC, Drilling Technological Innovations, LLC, and Doris. We are pleased that they have chosen to join our organization and we appreciate their commitment to support the efforts of our Research and Development community.
Membership affords you the access to technical information, advocacy, professional networking opportunities, participation in various conferences throughout the year, and instant access to the "members only" area of our website. The website includes a listing of our 150 plus members, program information, and informational updates.
To view a list of all RPSEA members, click here, www.rpsea.org.
In addition to the benefits listed above, membership affords select members of your organization the eligibility to serve on the Board of Directors and direct the future of RPSEA; participate on advisory committees to focus research priorities; access to technical forum information and results, workshops, member meetings and receptions as well as Semi-annual newsletters, e-mails, and reports.
We look forward to working with you in the future and once more thank you for your membership and support!
Doris, Inc. www.doris-inc.com
Drilling Technological Innovations, LLC www.dtillc.com
PowerIn, LLC www.powerinllc.com
Quest Integrity Group, LLC www.questintegrity.com
As noted by James Pappas for the Offshore Program; the onshore program is also in the midst of the final push to complete all research projects within the public-private research partnership of the Section 999 Program, managed by DOE-NETL.
With the significant drop in oil and gas prices, new technology development and adoption becomes ever more important for reducing operating costs and improving production. As part of this and as the RPSEA program progresses towards its conclusion, technology transfer becomes an ever more important facet. In that light three onshore workshops were conducted over the last several months. By topic matter they include:
Over 150 attendees participated in the workshops including a broad spectrum of university and research personnel, industry participants from multiple states and two foreign countries along with representatives of several government agencies.
All presentation material can be accessed via www.rpsea.org.
One of the many highlights from the workshops was the topic of Induced Seismicity, which occurs as part of the Induced Seismicity, reviewed in a workshop held in Houston. All participants joined in a robust discussion regarding the role shale drilling, completion and water disposal activity plays with regard to seismic activity. Induced seismicity is defined as that triggered by activities derived from oil and gas development such as water disposal. It was clear from the discussions during the workshop that there continues to be uncertainty and controversy as to the degree oil and gas activity influences seismic activity. Well respected research experts took opposite sides of the issue during the workshop debate sessions.
The following figure from the workshop illustrates the level of seismic activity over the past 40 years in the State of Texas. There is a clear increase in the rate of occurrence from 2 per year increasing to 12 per year. Research continues to determine the role oil and gas; especially shale activities influence this trend.
Cumulative Texas Earthquakes; from RPSEA Onshore Technology Workshop: Interactive Workshop Focusing on Induced Seismicity; Dr. Cliff Frohlich, University of Texas at Austin, November 4, 2015, Houston, Texas
During the Year 2016 RPSEA is planning additional technology dissemination events and encourages everyone to look for the event announcements and monitor the RPSEA website for topics, dates and locations.
Project Highlight - Field Testing and Diagnostics of Radial-Jet Well-Stimulation for Enhanced Oil Recovery from Marginal Reserves; New Mexico Tech
A research project to identify the feasibility and cost efficiency of using short radius laterals for enhanced oil recovery is nearing completion with positive results. The project goal was to develop and field-demonstrate a short radius lateral technology for production enhancement from mature oilfields and develop a diagnostic method for tracking the placement of laterals. Benefits of the technology include:
Graphic of Short Radius Lateral Stimulation
Research results thus far during a field test has shown ~40% improvement in oil rate confirming both the effectiveness of the stimulation and matches well with predictions. A detailed report of the technology is available for those interested. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A number of research projects were completed over the past several months and may be of interest to those developing onshore resources especially shale formations. Additional information regarding projects can be found on the RPSEA website and you are welcome to contact me anytime as well (email@example.com).
Selected Recent Reports:
by Bill Head
RPSEA’s 2015 Annual Ultra-Deepwater conference took place this year at the Marriott Westchase in Houston. It was co-sponsored by the SPE-GCS. The GCS is the largest chapter of the SPE. Attendance was very good. Papers are available to those who attended and will be available to the general public in Sept. 2016.
Conference topics included RPSEA projects on safety, risers, cement practice, floaters, FPSO’s, Pore Pressure, Human Factors, intelligent BOP’s, topsides explosion mitigation, Metocean, DOE research, and an invited paper from SPE.
The 2016 Annual Conference will feature the "Best of RPSEA" projects. We will show off projects in the Ultra-Deepwater, the Unconventional program and the Small Producer program over a 3-day period. Times will be in late August or early Sept. We are searching locations in Houston and Galveston.
You may notice that RPSEA will be featuring our projects in national journals as part of us demonstrating successes from the public-private research partnership created by Congress in 2005. While the Section J, 999 funding may be nearing completion, the idea of industry proposing topics of research in high-risk areas, the public seeking benefit from that research, and the cost of the research managed by a competent, low overhead organization, is still very valid. RPSEA continues to market JIP ideas.
JOINT INDUSTRY PROJECT PROPOSALS
JIP: Deepwater build 200 level pipe deployed tool/Phase 2 of 09121-3700
The RPSEA and Paulsson, Inc. proposal for a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to build and test a 200 level, modular, fiber optic 3C vector-sensor array for deep and horizontal boreholes was funded by a DOE grant with participation by SWN and Fluidion. Added to the JIP/Grant was the inclusion of micro seismic sources to be deployed with frac proppant to determine the extent and effectiveness of individual induced fractures. This is a 4 year project that began in Oct. 2014.
DOE GRANT: Injection and Tracking of Micro-Seismic Emitters to Optimize Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) Development Paulsson, Inc., Fluidion SAS, Southwest Energy, RPSEA, NETL/DOE. March 2, 2015; DOE/NETL Award DE-FE0024360.
JIP: Test the fiber optic broadband VSP tool for comparison to the Sercel Maxiwave. Test at the Hondo, Devine site, participants; BEG [Bob Hardage], Chevron, RPSEA, others;
The Bureau of Economic Geology [BEG] of Texas [Univ. Texas] stepped up to provide their Hondo-Devine test site free to the project and included other service providers. The Sercel tool was tested there, and that data is available to the project.
JIP: New Marine Vibrator designs, airgun energy substitutions, and their measured effects on Marine Life.
The Chelminski marine vibrator/LPS –low pressure source quasi air-gun was prototype tested in Seneca Lake with promising results. Dolphin Geophysical sponsored that research. RPSEA is seeking assistance in evaluating the effect on marine wildlife of this newly-developed marine vibrator for use in offshore oil and gas seismic exploration. We plan to build and test a design by Steve Chelminski, the inventor of the Air-gun, and add a modified PGS/GeoKinetics design for OBC work. Polarcus has offered significant boat time.
Offshore seismic surveys have traditionally used air gun energy sources towed behind ships to obtain information about oil and gas deposits buried beneath the seabed. Concern about possible adverse effects on marine mammals has led to the recent development of marine vibrator alternatives that are expected to be more environmentally-friendly and result in increased efficiencies compared to traditional air gun seismic sources. RPSEA has partnered with Battelle to evaluate the potential for effects on marine life from the prototype marine vibrators during demonstration testing. A suggested scope of work and estimated cost for the study is outlined below. Task 1: Build the Chelminski tuned marine vibrator as a full scale prototype.
Task 2: Comprehensive State-of-the-Science Review of Methods, Equipment, and Technologies Available for Marine Mammal Detection and Tracking
We anticipate the first two tasks could be completed in approximately 9 months. Project life is 3 years. Total project cost should be about $2.5 MM. Obvious market-fall out and competition has been a problem in fund raising.
JIP: Bastion Technologies and RPSEA are forming a JIP to build and test two very important ideas our TAC chose from our requests for CTR's, but remained unfunded by DOE. First, the IntrSeptr, and intelligent complimentary riser post-BOP. You can activate it based on sensor data, and then open it back up once any concerns have been addressed.
The second idea is the PYRO-Accumulator. It not only provides a significant safety tool, but can also create power from casing gas right off your wellhead.
RPSEA and Bastion Technologies are soliciting JIP support. Bastion experts will be at the upcoming Subsea Tieback conference in San Antonio. Bastion continues to support RPSEA with their Congressional delegation.
Bill Head, Director UDW Program
by James Pappas
We are in the midst of the final push to complete the last 21 Ultra-Deepwater projects within the public-private research partnership of the Section 999 Program, managed by DOE-NETL, and are actively engaged in the Ocean Energy Safety Institute program, sponsored by DOI-BSEE, as well as a DOE-NETL grant to Paulsson, Inc.
Our project’s Working Project Groups, consisting of private industry volunteer subject matter experts from around the globe, average about one meeting per month for each of the projects, which keeps us on our toes. We expect these closed group meetings to continue throughout the remainder of the Program, as the input from these folks is critical to the success of the projects and provides valuable input regarding the eventual commercial utility of each.
Our 2015 Annual UDW Technology Conference, co-sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers Gulf Coast Section, and assisted by the group’s Technology Transfer Committee, was quite successful, drawing over 200 participants. Project updates and a few final project presentations were provided for all of our RPSEA projects, as well as a few NETL projects. Dr. Ivor Ellul, SPE-GCS Chair, keynoted the conference with an insightful description of the value of technology, noting a few examples of the past. All of the participants in the conference have access to the presentations.
We’ll host our Winter UDW Technical Advisory Committee meetings in January and February, and all are welcome to register and attend. Many of our projects will be reviewed and updated in these open access meetings, and we expect there to be quite a bit of dialog and comments from the audience. The schedules for the meetings and links are provided elsewhere in this newsletter. You can also log onto the RPSEA website and view our calendar for additional information and to register.
RPSEA will host topsides and risers technical session entitled Addressing the Pressing Needs of Offshore Ultra-Deepwater Floating Facilities and Risers on Thursday, May 5 at the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference. Several of our related projects will be highlighted. In addition, seven other papers related to RPSEA projects will be presented over the four-day event. We hope you can be in attendance to support these efforts.
10121-4202-01 Hydrate modeling for dissociated systems: The project added a seismic detector to get a better picture of hydrate formation in various dispersed systems. It also added an OceanIt internal coating for pipes (developed for military aircraft use) to determine if it will mitigate hydrate sticking to pipe walls. To test the products it added additional flow loop tests are which being conducted and its period of performance has been extended to September 2016.
10121-4204-01 Corrosion measurement at extreme temperatures and pressures: The project was completed in August. It successfully developed tools and procedures to accurately identify corrosion in several types of steel.
10121-4302-01 CNT umbilicals: The project installed a new heater capable of higher temperature and continues to develop electrically conductive nano-tubes that might replace copper wiring. The project has been extended to February 2016.
10121-4304-01 SS measurement improvements: This project is performing additional virtual flowmeter analysis by virtue of a second donated series of well tests for which will be used for comparison. Additional differential pressure testing was conducted on its sensor at up to 15ksi and 250C. Meanwhile, the subsea sampler system that was developed earlier in the year was successfully tested at NASA’s neutral buoyancy lab and was also tested on land at Chevron’s Bakersfield flow loop facility. The subcontractor is requesting additional time and funds to perform more differential pressure tests for use as a downhole density measurement tool and to draft the final reports with its lessons learned.
10121-4306-01 All-electric HIPPS: This project was terminated after the subcontractor purchased a company that manufactures subsea actuators and RPSEA instead selected a third party actuator manufacturer for the project, causing a potential conflict of interest.
10121-4402-01 Flexible riser: Additional prototype testing has been approved following a modification of the statement of work.
10121-4402-02 Flexible riser: This project will be terminated because the subcontractor cannot meet its cost share demands and has terminated its technical staff.
10121-4404-03 Low cost cylindrical shaped floating production system: An extension has been granted until September 2016. The Working Project Group will visit the OTRC to formalize the tank testing schedule, now estimated for February 2016 at the earliest. The amount of testing and follow-up analysis is dependent on meeting the project end of performance period.
10121-4501-01 Smart cement: Following the successful proof of concept development in the lab, a shallow well was drilled with sensors in place to evaluate the concept in the field. Currently the newly drilled well is securing data while waiting on the cement to set.
10121-4801-01 Synthetic hurricane model: While this project has progressed well, the vast amount of data that requires analysis has led to an extension being granted until April 2016 to complete its work.
10121-4802-01 Hurricane predictions accounting for climate change: This project, which is a follow-on to a previous RPSEA project, was completed in September. It successfully developed prediction models for fewer but stronger storms in the north Atlantic due to climate change activity and segregated storm activity between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
11121-5101-01 Human Factors in drilling: Phase 2 of this project is nearly complete, in which a tool was refined that can identify weaknesses in human decision making during drilling activities. If Phase 3 is authorized, plans are to test the tool in real life, anonymous situations and develop a commercial plan.
11121-5302-01 SS chemical injection reservoir system: Stage 1 of the project was completed in early 2015. Design work continues for the system, including the subsea pumping system and bladder system options. A Design Failure Modes, Effects & Criticality Analysis is planned for January.
11121-5402-01 Riser lifecycle monitoring system: Phase 2 of the project was approved in mid-2015. Plans are to perform a test of the prototype in early 2016 on a drilling rig riser, requiring a change in the statement of work. Originally, the plan had been to test it in Seneca Lake in a simulated environment, but the Working Project Group felt that a true test of the concept should be done in a real life situation, if it is to be proven.
11121-5404-03 Vortex Induced Motion study on Deep Draft Column Stabilized Floaters: Tank tests were successfully conducted at MARIN. Phase 2 of the project has been approved. Model Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis was completed. VIM testing and full-scale Computational Fluids Dynamics work continues. However, the volume of data requiring analysis may require an extension of the project through September 2016.
11121-5503-01 Intelligent BOP Ram Actuator Sensors: Phase 2 of the project has been approved. Development of mechanical and software integration is succeeding with model testing currently ongoing.
11121-5801-01 Hi-resolution environmental data: The hydrodynamic model analysis is complete. Remote Ocean Current Imaging System data processing indicating eddy current effects will be reported out in early 2016. This work is expected to result in a technique to monitor surface current velocities in real-time. Quantification of combined inertial and geotropic currents below the sea surface occurring when a tropical storm passes over the Loop Current or Loop Current Eddies will be performed if an opportunity exists to measure activity by mid-summer.
12121-6002-02 Seismic enhancements for pore pressure prediction: The subcontractor and Working Project Group determined that more than one significant geologic model should be used because a single pore prediction model might not be informative enough for subsequent wells due to changes in pressure after reservoir exposure to the initial well; and it therefore designed an RFP for digital processing services, which was subsequently awarded. An RFP for 2D seismic data processing of the simulated data set created for pore pressure modeling was solicited in August and awarded. Additional funds have been requested to evaluate pore pressure changes throughout a drilling program, and to determine if seismic such as 4D might be a useful tool for prediction to improve safety.
12121-6301-03 Subsea oil-in-water sensor system: The subcontractor and Working Project Group down-selected vendors and products to test and developed its criteria. The Working Project Group evaluated test procedures, as well as the Confocal Laser Fluorescence Microscopy design criteria. The Phase 1 Final Report and recommendation to proceed to Phase 2 to test various systems, as well as the final versions of the above documents are being drafted.
12121-6302-01 Subsea High Voltage DC connectors: The subcontractor and Working Project Group developed the required criteria for the prototypes. The Phase 1 Final Report is complete and Phase 2 of the project was approved in mid-summer 2015. Prototype 1 was constructed and successfully tested in a lab for lower voltages. Lab equipment and Prototype 2 are now being constructed. Bench scale test procedures were drafted and reviewed by the Working Project Group. Following a meeting to discuss options and concerns, a major re-write of the procedures was prepared and distributed to the Group in late December. Plans are to finalize the document, test the second prototype at higher voltages, and evaluate the results.
12121-6402-01 Algorithm for floaters in hazardous Arctic conditions: The Phase 1 Final Report is complete, and Phase 2 of the project has been approved. The subcontractor is currently comparing results with other models and debugging software. Plans are to continue to run scenarios for comparison per Working Project Group direction.
12121-6403-01 Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics for deflagration & detonation: The Phase 1 Final Report was completed and Phase 2 of the project was approved. Earlier modeling showed that additional material and strengthening was needed to ensure the success of the project and ensure that critical large-scale data would be obtained for the safe design of GoM ultra-deepwater structures. Explosion tests & measurements were performed in mid-December and showed that existing calibrations of the FLACS model based on North Sea deployment are not adequate or sufficiently accurate; detonations occurred sooner than predicted. More scale model testing and calibration of the simulation software is essential to success. A request has been made for additional funds for additional large-scale tests to be executed and studies into effectiveness of active mitigation measures at large scales, which is currently lacking in the field. Several new cost share participants have put forward platform designs that may represent future or even existing facilities.
12121-6502-01 Annular Pressure Buildup Mitigation technologies: A workshop to review results and seek subject matter experts’ feedback was held in October. A draft of the Final Report that included SME comments was submitted for review in early December. The subcontractor will address additional comments from the Working Project Group and submit its Final Report to complete the project.
12121-6503-01 Cementing best practices for oil- and synthetic-based drilling mud systems: The Phase 1 Final Report was completed and Phase 2 was approved in mid-summer. The subcontractor is currently developing procedures and criteria for larger scale model tests.
During the second half of 2015 several Ultra-Deepwater project final reports were completed, and their Technical Reports can be found on our website:
Other Publications since the last newsletter include the following:
In addition the following new documents are exclusively available to RPSEA members by logging onto our website (member representatives requiring website members only access logon information should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org):
Till next time,
RPSEA will be hosting or otherwise involved in several upcoming events throughout the remainder of the year. Below is a listing. We hope to see you there.
Welcome, 2016! As the New Year rolls in and 2015 rolls out, taxpayers can always expect new changes to current tax laws. This year is no different. Whether the changes affect health savings accounts (HSA), retirement contributions or other standard deductions it helps to become aware of the changes prior to preparing your 2015 tax return. Below are a few of the most common tax changes we can expect in the coming year and will hopefully help you plan the year ahead.
For 2016, more than 50 tax provisions are affected by inflation adjustments, including personal exemptions, AMT exemption amounts, and foreign earned income exclusion.
Tax Brackets, Deductions, and Exemptions
The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $415,050 ($466,950 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $413,200 and $464,850, respectively. The other marginal rates--10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent--and related income tax thresholds--are found at IRS.gov.
The standard deduction remains at $6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. The standard deduction for heads of household rises to $9,300, up from $9,250.
The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2016 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $259,400 or more ($311,300 for married couples filing jointly).
The personal exemption for tax year 2016 rises to $4,050, up from the 2015 exemption of $4,000. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $259,400 ($311,300 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $381,900 ($433,800 for married couples filing jointly.)
For taxable years beginning in 2016, the amount that can be used to reduce the net unearned income reported on the child's return that is subject to the "kiddie tax," is $1,050 (same as 2015). The same $1,050 amount is used to determine whether a parent may elect to include a child's gross income in the parent's gross income and to calculate the "kiddie tax."
For example, one of the requirements for the parental election is that a child's gross income for 2016 must be more than $1,050 but less than $10,500. For 2016, the net unearned income for a child under the age of 19 (or a full-time student under the age of 24) that is not subject to "kiddie tax" is $2,100.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) are used to pay current or future medical expenses of the account owner, his or her spouse, and any qualified dependent. Medical expenses must not be reimbursable by insurance or other sources and do not qualify for the medical expense deduction on a federal income tax return.
A qualified individual must be covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and not be covered by other health insurance with the exception of insurance for accidents, disability, dental care, vision care, or long-term care.
For calendar year 2016, a qualifying HDHP must have a deductible of at least $1,300 for self-only coverage or $2,600 for family coverage and must limit annual out-of-pocket expenses of the beneficiary to $6,550 for self-only coverage and $13,100 for family coverage.
Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)
There are two types of Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs): the Archer MSA created to help self-employed individuals and employees of certain small employers, and the Medicare Advantage MSA, which is also an Archer MSA, and is designated by Medicare to be used solely to pay the qualified medical expenses of the account holder. To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage MSA, you must be enrolled in Medicare. Both MSAs require that you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
Self-only coverage. For taxable years beginning in 2016, the term "high deductible health plan" means, for self-only coverage, a health plan that has an annual deductible that is not less than $2,250 ($2,200 in 2015) and not more than $3,350 (up $50 from 2015), and under which the annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid (other than for premiums) for covered benefits do not exceed $4,450 (same as 2015).
Family coverage. For taxable years beginning in 2016, the term "high deductible health plan" means, for family coverage, a health plan that has an annual deductible that is not less than $4,450 (same as 2015) and not more than $6,700 (up $50 from 2015), and under which the annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid (other than for premiums) for covered benefits do not exceed $8,150 (same as 2015).
AGI Limit for Deductible Medical Expenses
In 2016, the deduction threshold for deductible medical expenses remains at 10 percent (same as 2015) of adjusted gross income (AGI); however, if either you or your spouse were age 65 or older as of December 31, 2015, the new 10 percent of AGI threshold will not take effect until 2017. In other words, the 7.5 percent threshold that was in place in earlier tax years continues to apply for tax year 2016 for these individuals. In addition, if you or your spouse turns age 65 in 2016, the 7.5 percent of AGI threshold applies for that year (through 2016) as well. Starting in 2017, the 10 percent of AGI threshold applies to everyone.
Eligible Long-Term Care Premiums
Premiums for long-term care are treated the same as health care premiums and are deductible on your taxes subject to certain limitations. For individuals age 40 or younger at the end of 2016, the limitation is $390. Persons more than 40 but not more than 50 can deduct $730. Those more than 50 but not more than 60 can deduct $1,460 while individuals more than 60 but not more than 70 can deduct $3,900. The maximum deduction is $4,870 and applies to anyone older than 70 years of age.
The additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages above $200,000 for individuals ($250,000 married filing jointly), which went into effect in 2013, remains in effect for 2016, as does the Medicare tax of 3.8 percent on investment (unearned) income for single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (AGI) more than $200,000 ($250,000 joint filers). Investment income includes dividends, interest, rents, royalties, gains from the disposition of property, and certain passive activity income. Estates, trusts, and self-employed individuals are all liable for the new tax
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
For 2016, the foreign earned income exclusion amount is $101,300, up from $100,800 in 2015.
Long-Term Capital Gains and Dividends
In 2016 tax rates on capital gains and dividends remain the same as 2015 rates; however threshold amounts are indexed for inflation. As such, for taxpayers in the lower tax brackets (10 and 15 percent), the rate remains 0 percent. For taxpayers in the four middle tax brackets, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent, the rate is 15 percent. For an individual taxpayer in the highest tax bracket, 39.6 percent, whose income is at or above $415,050 ($466,950 married filing jointly), the rate for both capital gains and dividends is capped at 20 percent.
Pease and PEP (Personal Exemption Phase-out)
Both Pease (limitations on itemized deductions) and PEP (personal exemption phase-out) have been permanently extended (and indexed to inflation) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, and in 2016, affect taxpayers with income at or above $259,400 for single filers and $311,300 for married filing jointly.
Estate and Gift Taxes
For an estate of any decedent during calendar year 2016, the basic exclusion amount is $5,450,000, indexed for inflation (up from $5,430,000 in 2015). The maximum tax rate remains at 40 percent. The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000.
Standard Mileage Rates
The rate for business miles driven is 54 cents per mile for 2016, down from 57.5 cents per mile in 2015. For medical or moving purposes the rate is 19 cents per mile driven, down from 23 cents for 2015; and it remains 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
Research & Development Tax Credit
Starting in 2016, businesses with less than $50 million in gross receipts are able to use this credit to offset alternative minimum tax. Certain start-up businesses that might not have any income tax liability will be able to offset payroll taxes with the credit as well.