Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill will affect the taxes of most taxpayers, but one key point to keep in mind is that, for most people, the bill won't affect your taxes for 2017 (the one you file in 2018).
The bill retains the seven tax brackets found in current law, but lowers a number of the tax rates. It also changes the income thresholds at which the rates apply.
The income thresholds at which these brackets kick in have changed as well. Here is what they will look like for married joint filers:
This is what they will look like for single filers:
The bill also eases the burden of the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) by raising the income exempted from $84,500 (adjusted for inflation) to $109,400 for taxpayers who are married and filing jointly, and from $54,300 (adjusted for inflation) to $70,300 for single taxpayers, so fewer taxpayers will pay it.
Increased standard deduction: The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction amount. Single taxpayers will see their standard deductions jump from $6,350 for 2017 taxes to $12,000 for 2018 taxes (the ones you file in 2019).
Married couples filing jointly see an increase from $12,700 to $24,000. These increases mean that fewer people will have to itemize. Today, roughly 30% of taxpayers itemize. Under the new law, this percentage is expected to decrease.
Increased Child Tax Credit: For families with children, the Child Tax Credit is doubled from $1,000 per child to $2,000. In addition, the amount that is refundable grows from $1,100 to $1,400. The bill also adds a new, nonrefundable credit of $500 for dependents other than children. Finally, it raises the income threshold at which these benefits phase out from $110,000 for a married couple to $400,000.
Personal and dependent exemptions: The bill eliminates the personal and dependent exemptions, which are currently $4,050 for 2017 and were expected to increase to $4,150 in 2018.
State and local taxes/home mortgages: The bill limits the amount of state and local property, income and sales taxes that can be deducted to $10,000. In the past, these taxes have generally been fully tax deductible.
The bill also caps the amount of mortgage indebtedness on new home purchases on which interest can be deducted at $750,000 down from $1,000,000 in current law.
Health care: The bill eliminates the tax penalty for not having health insurance after December 31, 2018. It also temporarily lowers the floor above which out-of-pocket medical expenses can be deducted from the current law floor of 10% to 7.5% for 2017 and 2018
So for 2017 and 2018, you can deduct medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income as opposed to the higher 10%.
Self-employed and small businesses: The bill has a myriad of changes for business. The biggest includes a reduction in the top corporate rate to 21%, a new 20% deduction for incomes from certain type of “pass-through” entities (partnerships, S Corps, sole proprietorships), limits on expensing of interest from borrowing, almost doubling of the amount small businesses can expense from the 2017 Section 179 amount of $510,000 to $1,000,000, and eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT).
David Williams, Chief Tax Officer, Intuit & Executive Director, Intuit Tax and Financial Center
The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business. The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.