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Posted by: thepinetree on 12/28/2017 11:06 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 12/30/2017 10:55 AM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM

Tax Cuts & The Jobs Act 2017 & What It Means For You! ~ By Gail Lee, EA

Arnold, CA...After much debate and wrangling, Congress has given us long awaited changes in how Americans are taxed. Most changes are effective on January 1, 2018. Here are some highlights of many changes as we all prepare for planning opportunities.

The increase in standard deductions for personal income tax returns will enable most people to file their taxes without having to itemize deductions. The standard deductions are $12,000 for single tax payers, $18,000 for head of household, and $24,000 for married filing jointly. Those who continue to itemize will be facing new limits. Among allowed deductions are: qualified medical expenses above 7.5% of adjusted gross income for 2018 (increases to 10% in 2019); local income, sales and property taxes limited to $10,000; qualified charitable contributions up to 60% of income; interest on an acquisition mortgage up to $750,000 but no deduction for home equity loans; personal casualty and theft losses only deductible if covered by specific federal disaster declarations; moving expenses only allowed for Armed Forces personnel.

The miscellaneous deductions that were subject to a limit of 2% of income are all gone. Among those are: tax preparation fees; unreimbursed employee expenses; financial advisor fees, and investment interest expense.
Some taxpayers may benefit from paying their property tax before the end of the year. Check with your tax advisor to see if this might be beneficial. Restrictions apply, so plan carefully.

There are no more personal exemptions, but families with children under 17 will see an increase in the child tax credit to $2,000 each. In addition, qualifying dependents who are not qualifying children are allowed a nonrefundable $500 credit each. Phase out income levels have been expanded.

The loss of personal exemptions is offset by lower tax rates. There are still 7 tax brackets, but the rates are lower and income levels have changed. Of the comparisons I have made for my clients, 80% have seen a reduction in their tax. Check with your tax advisor to see how you might do under the new plan.

The individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act goes away on January 1, 2019. Until then, those who have no minimal essential health insurance coverage will be subject to penalty unless an exemption applies.
The corporate tax rate has dropped from 35 % to 21%. “Pass through entities” will be able to deduct 20% of qualified business income from their taxable income. (There will be no reduction of income subject to self-employment tax.) This also applies to sole proprietors. One big change for businesses is the disallowance of business entertainment expenses. Business owners may still take customers to lunch, but they will not be allowed to deduct the expense.

As details are worked out, guidelines from the IRS should soon be available. Withholding tables will be released, and most taxpayers will see a reduction in federal tax withholding from their paychecks.

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