As you may remember, Cord Armstrong and myself presented a Tax Update on October 19, 2017. We didn't have any information other than hypothetical proposals. Well on Nov. 16, the House of Representatives passed their version of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate Finance Committee passed their version of tax reform on the same day. The Committee released a Joint Committee on Taxation description of the Chairman's Mark on Nov. 9, a description of modifications to the Mark on Nov. 14, a correction to the modifications on Nov. 15, and a Manager's Amendment on Nov. 16.
Below is a summary of the significant provisions. For a more comprehensive review of the significant provisions please review the attached comparison or visit my website Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Current law. There are seven regular income tax brackets: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%.
House proposal. The seven tax brackets would be reduced to four: 12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6%.
In addition, the benefit of the 12% rate would be recaptured by an additional tax if adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds $1,000,000 ($1,200,000 for married filing jointly and surviving spouses).
Senate proposal. There would be seven tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 38.5%.
Current law. In general, personal (and dependency) exemptions are available for you, your spouse, and your dependents. Personal exemptions may be phased out based on the amount of your adjusted gross income.
You can generally choose to take the standard deduction or to itemize deductions. Additional standard deduction amounts are available if you are blind or age 65 or older.
Itemized deductions include 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 is an overall limitation on itemized deductions based on the amount of your adjusted gross income.
House proposal. The standard deduction would be significantly increased, but personal and dependency exemptions would no longer be available, and additional standard deduction amounts for the blind and those over age 65 would no longer be available.
Most itemized deductions would be eliminated (or restricted).
Senate proposal. The standard deduction would be significantly increased, and the additional standard deduction amounts for those over age 65 or blind would still be available. The personal and dependency exemptions would no longer be available.
Current law. The maximum child tax credit is $1,000. The child tax credit is phased out if modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain amounts. If the credit exceeds the tax liability, the child tax credit is refundable up to 15% of the amount of earned income in excess of $3,000 (the earned income threshold).
House proposal. The maximum child tax credit would be increased to $1,600. A credit of $300 would be available for non-child dependents. In addition, a family flexibility credit of $300 would be available for a qualifying individual who is neither a child nor a non-child dependent. The maximum refundable amount of the credit would be $1,000, indexed for inflation. The amount at which the credit begins to phase out would be increased.
Senate proposal. The maximum child tax credit would be increased to $2,000. A nonrefundable credit of $500 would be available for non-child dependents. The maximum refundable amount of the credit would be $1,000, indexed for inflation. The amount at which the credit begins to phase out would be increased, and the earned income threshold would be lowered to $2,500.
Under both the House and Senate plans, the alternative minimum tax would be eliminated.
Instead of taxing most unearned income of children at their parents' tax rates, both the House and Senate plans would tax children's unearned income using the trust and estate income tax brackets.
Under both the House and Senate plans, corporate income would be taxed at a 20% rate. The House plan would make this effective starting in 2018. The Senate plan, however, would delay implementation to 2019.
House proposal. A portion of the net income distributed by a pass-through entity (e.g., a partnership or S corporation) to an owner or shareholder would be taxed at a maximum rate of 25%. Wages and payments for services would be taxed at ordinary individual income tax rates.
Senate proposal. An individual taxpayer would be able to deduct 17.4% of domestic qualified business income (excludes compensation) from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship. The benefit of the deduction would be phased out for specified service businesses with taxable income exceeding $250,000 ($500,000 for married filing jointly). The deduction would be limited to 50% of the W-2 wages of the taxpayer. The W-2 wage limit would not apply if taxable income does not exceed $250,000 ($500,000 for married filing jointly), and the limit would be phased in for taxable income above those thresholds.
Under both the House and Senate plans, the contribution levels for retirement plans would remain the same. However, it would no longer be permissible to recharacterize (or undo) a contribution or conversion to a Roth IRA.
House proposal. The gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount would be doubled to about $11,200,000 in 2018.
In 2025, the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax would be repealed. In general, income tax basis would continue to be stepped-up (or stepped-down) to fair market value at death. The gift tax would remain, but the top gift tax rate would be reduced from 40% to 35%.
Senate proposal. The gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount would be doubled to about $11,200,000 in 2018.
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