President Trump’s tax reform plan has many individual and corporate tax changes and implications. Individual tax changes are as follows:
The law cuts corporate tax rates permanently and individual tax rates temporarily. It permanently removes the individual mandate, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, which is likely to raise insurance premiums and significantly reduce the number of people with coverage. The highest earners are expected to benefit most from the law, while the lowest earners may actually pay more in taxes once most individual tax provisions expire after 2025.
Income Tax Rates
The law retains the current structure of seven individual income tax brackets, but in most cases it lowers the rates: the top rate falls from 39.6% to 37%, while the 33% bracket falls to 32%, the 28% bracket to 24%, the 25% bracket to 22%, and the 15% bracket to 12%. The lowest bracket remains at 10%, and the 35% bracket is also unchanged. The income bands that the new rates apply to are lower, compared to 2018 brackets under current law, for the five highest brackets.
The law raises the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly in 2018 (from $13,000 under current law), to $12,000 for single filers (from $6,500), and to $18,000 for heads of household (from $9,550). These changes expire after 2025. The additional standard deduction, which the House bill would have repealed, will not be affected. Beginning in 2019, the inflation gauge used to index the standard deduction will change in a way that is likely to accelerate bracket creep (see below).
The law suspends the personal exemption, which is currently set at $4,150 in 2018, through 2025. Withholding rules may not change until 2019, subject to the Treasury Secretary’s discretion.
The law ends the individual mandate, a provision of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” that provides tax penalties for individuals who do not obtain health insurance coverage, in 2019. (While the mandate technically remains in place, the penalty falls to $0.) According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), repealing the measure is likely to reducefederal deficits by around $338 billion from 2018 to 2027, but lead 13 million more people to lack insurance at the end of that period and push premiums up by an average of around 10%. Unlike other individual tax changes, the repeal will not be reversed in 2025.
Family Credits and Deductions
The law temporarily raises the child tax credit to $2,000, with the first $1,400 refundable, and creates a non-refundable $500 credit for non-child dependents. The child credit can only be claimed if the taxpayer provides the child’s Social Security number. (This requirement does not apply to the $500 credit.) Qualifying children must be younger than 17. The child credit begins to phaseout when adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 (for married couples filing jointly, not indexed to inflation). Under current law, phaseout begins at $110,000. These changes expire in 2025.
Head of Household
Trump’s revised campaign plan, released in 2016, would have scrapped the head of household filing status, potentially raising taxes on 5.8 million single-parent households, according to an estimate by the Tax Policy Center (TPC). The law leaves the head of household filing status in place.
Mortgage Interest Deduction
The law limits the application of the mortgage interest deduction for married couples filing jointly to $750,000 worth of debt, down from $1,000,000 under current law, but up from $500,000 under the House bill. Mortgages taken out before Dec. 15 are still subject to the current cap. The change expires after 2025.
State and Local Tax Deduction
The law caps the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000 through 2025. The SALT deduction disproportionately benefits high earners, who are more likely to itemize, and taxpayers in Democratic states. A number of Republican members of Congress representing high-tax states opposed attempts to eliminate the deduction, as the Senate bill would have done.
Retirement Plans and HSAs
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Retirement plans are not be affected by the law, as they would have been under the bill passed by the House.
Student Loans and Tuition
The House bill would have repealed the deduction for student loan interest expenses and the exclusion from gross income and wages of qualified tuition reductions. The law leaves these breaks intact. The conference bill would also have extended the use of 529 plans to K-12 private school tuition, but that provision was struck down by the Senate parliamentarian as ineligible to be passed through reconciliation.
Read more: Trump’s Tax Reform Plan |