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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

     

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The Act makes extensive changes that affect both individuals and businesses. Some key provisions of the Act are discussed below. Most provisions are effective for 2018. Many individual tax provisions sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025; the corporate tax rates provision is made permanent. Comparisons below are generally for 2018.

Individual income tax rates
Pre-existing law. There were seven regular income tax brackets: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and
39.6%.

New law. There are seven tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. These provisions
sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025.

Standard deduction, itemized deductions, and personal exemptions
Pre-existing law. In general, personal (and dependency) exemptions were available for you, your spouse,
and your dependents. Personal exemptions were phased out for those with higher adjusted gross incomes.

You could generally choose to take the standard deduction or to itemize deductions. Additional standard
deduction amounts were available if you were blind or age 65 or older.

Itemized deductions included deductions for: medical expenses, state and local taxes, home mortgage
interest, investment interest, charitable gifts, casualty and theft losses, job expenses and certain
miscellaneous deductions, and other miscellaneous deductions. There was an overall limitation on itemized
deductions based on the amount of your adjusted gross income.

New law. The standard deduction is significantly increased, and the additional standard deduction amounts
for those over age 65 or blind are still available. The personal and dependency exemptions are no longer
available.

Many itemized deductions are eliminated or restricted. The overall limitation on itemized deductions based
on the amount of your adjusted gross income is eliminated.

  • The 10% of AGI floor for the deduction of medical expenses is reduced to 7.5% in 2017 and 2018 (for
    regular tax and alternative minimum tax).
  • The deduction for state and local taxes is limited to $10,000. An individual cannot prepay 2018 income
    taxes in 2017 in order to avoid the dollar limitation in 2018.
  • The deduction for mortgage interest is still available, but the benefit is reduced for some individuals, and
    interest on home equity loans is no longer deductible.
  • The charitable deduction is still available, but modified.
  • The deduction for personal casualty losses is eliminated unless the loss is incurred in a federally
    declared disaster.

These provisions sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025.

Standard deduction, itemized deductions, and personal exemptions

Child tax credit
Pre-existing law. The maximum child tax credit was $1,000. The child tax credit was phased out if
modified adjusted gross income exceeded certain amounts. If the credit exceeded the tax liability, the child
tax credit was refundable up to 15% of the amount of earned income in excess of $3,000 (the earned
income threshold).

New law. The maximum child tax credit is increased to $2,000. A nonrefundable credit of $500 is available
for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children. The maximum refundable amount of the credit is
$1,400, indexed for inflation. The amount at which the credit begins to phase out is increased, and the
earned income threshold is lowered to $2,500. The changes to the credit sunset and revert to pre-existing
law after 2025.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT)
Under the Act, the alternative minimum tax exemptions and exemption phaseout thresholds are increased.
The AMT changes sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025.

Kiddie tax
Instead of taxing most unearned income of children at their parents’ tax rates (as under pre-existing law),
the Act taxes children’s unearned income using the trust and estate income tax brackets. This provision
sunsets and reverts to pre-existing law after 2025.

Corporate tax rates
Under the Act, corporate income is taxed at a 21% rate. The corporate alternative minimum tax is repealed.

Special provisions for business income of individuals
Under the Act, an individual taxpayer can deduct 20% of domestic qualified business income (excludes
compensation) from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship. The benefit of the deduction is
phased out for specified service businesses with taxable income exceeding $157,500 ($315,000 for
married filing jointly). The deduction is limited to the greater of (1) 50% of the W-2 wages of the taxpayer, or
(2) the sum of (a) 25% of the W-2 wages of the taxpayer, plus (b) 2.5% of the unadjusted basis immediately
after acquisition of all qualified property (certain depreciable property). This limit does not apply if taxable
income does not exceed $157,500 ($315,000 for married filing jointly), and the limit is phased in for taxable
income above those thresholds. This provision sunsets and reverts to pre-existing law after 2025.

Retirement plans
Under the Act, the contribution levels for retirement plans remain the same. However, the Act repeals the
special rule permitting a recharacterization to unwind a Roth conversion.

Estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax
The Act doubles the gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount and the generation-skipping transfer tax
exemption to about $11,200,000 in 2018. This provision sunsets and reverts to pre-existing law after 2025.

Health insurance individual mandate
The Act eliminates the requirement that individuals must be covered by a health care plan that provides at
least minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty tax (the individual shared responsibility payment) for
failure to maintain the coverage. The provision is effective for months beginning after December 31, 2018.

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement
advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal
circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be
used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer
should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly
available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness
of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.


Posted on: December 28, 2017

 

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