President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “Tax Act” into law on December 22, 2017. The Tax Act provides the most significant tax reforms since the Tax Act of 1986. These new laws are generally effective on January 1, 2018.
For the purposes of US GAAP and IFRS, the law is enacted and substantially enacted respectively. As such, the new laws may impact financial statements ending December 31, 2017.
The following policy highlights were provided by the House and Senate Conference Committee.
For individuals and families, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
- Lowers individual taxes and sets the rates at 0%, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37% so people can keep more of their hard-earned money.
- Significantly increases the standard deduction to protect roughly double the amount of what you earn each year from taxes – from $6,500 and $13,000 under current law to $12,000 and $24,000 for individuals and married couples, respectively.
- Continues to allow people to write off the cost of state and local taxes – up to $10,000. Gives individuals and families the ability to deduct property taxes and income – or sales – taxes to best fit their unique circumstances.
- Takes action to support more American families by: Expanding the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 for single filers and married couples to help parents with the cost of raising children. The tax credit is fully refundable up to $1,400 and begins to phase-out for families making over $400,000. Parents must provide a child’s valid Social Security Number in order to receive this credit.
- Preserving the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help families care for their children and older dependents such as a disabled grandparent who may need additional support.
- Preserving the Adoption Tax Credit so parents can continue to receive additional tax relief as they open their hearts and homes to an adopted child.
- Preserves the mortgage interest deduction – providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners.
- For all homeowners with existing mortgages that were taken out to buy a home, there will be no change to the current mortgage interest deduction.
- For homeowners with new mortgages on a first or second home, the home mortgage interest deduction will be available up to $750,000.
- Provides relief for Americans with expensive medical bills by expanding the medical expense deduction for 2017 and 2018 for medical expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, and rising to 10 percent beginning in 2019.
- Continues and expands the deduction for charitable contributions so people can continue to donate to their local church, charity, or community organization.
- Eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty tax – providing families with much-needed relief and flexibility to buy the health care that’s right for them if they choose.
- Maintains the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide important tax relief for low-income Americans working to build better lives for themselves.
- Improves savings vehicles for education by allowing families to use 529 accounts to save for elementary, secondary and higher education.
- Provides support for graduate students by continuing to exempt the value of reduced tuition from taxes.
- Retains popular retirement savings options such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) so Americans can continue to save for their future.
- Increases the exemption amount from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to reduce the complexity and tax burden for millions of Americans.
- Provides immediate relief from the Death Tax by doubling the amount of the current exemption to reduce uncertainty and costs for many family-owned farms and businesses when they pass down their life’s work to the next generation.
For job creators of all sizes, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
- Lowers the corporate tax rate to 21% (beginning Jan. 1, 2018) – down from 35%, which today is the highest in the industrialized world – the largest reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate in our nation’s history.
- Delivers significant tax relief to Main Street job creators by:
- Offering a first-ever 20% tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint income earned by all businesses organized as S corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietorships. For Main Street job creators with income above this level, the bill generally provides a deduction for up to 20% on business profits – reducing their effective marginal tax rate to no more than 29.6%.
- Establishing strong safeguards so that wage income does not receive the lower marginal effective tax rates on business income – helping to ensure that Main Street tax relief goes to the local job creators it was designed to help most.
- Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers – unleashing growth of jobs, productivity, and paychecks.
- Protects the ability of small businesses to write off interest on loans, helping these Main Street entrepreneurs start or expand a business, hire workers, and increase paychecks.
- Preserves important elements of the existing business tax system, including:
- Retaining the low-income housing tax credit that encourages businesses to invest in affordable housing so families, individuals, and seniors can find a safe and comfortable place to call home.
- Preserving the Research & Development Tax Credit that encourages our businesses and workers to develop cutting-edge “Made in America” products and services.
- Retaining the tax-preferred status of private-activity bonds that are used to finance valuable infrastructure projects.
- Eliminates the Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, thereby lowering taxes and eliminating confusion and uncertainty so American job creators can focus on growing their business and hiring more workers, rather than on burdensome paperwork.
- Modernizes our international tax system so America’s global businesses will no longer be held back by an outdated “worldwide” tax system that results in double taxation for many of our nation’s job creators.
- Makes it easier for American businesses to bring home foreign earnings to invest in growing jobs and paychecks in our local communities.
- Prevents American jobs, headquarters, and research from moving overseas by eliminating incentives that now reward companies for shifting jobs, profits, and manufacturing plants abroad.
For greater American energy security and economic growth, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
- Establishes an environmentally responsible oil and gas program in the non-wilderness 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Congress specifically set aside the 1.57-million acre 1002 Area for potential future development. Two lease sales will be held over the next decade and surface development will be limited to 2,000 federal acres – just one ten-thousandth of all of ANWR.
- Significantly boosts American energy production. Responsible development in the 1002 Area will raise tens of billions of dollars for deficit reduction in the decades to come, while creating thousands of new jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and helping to keep energy affordable for American families and businesses.
- Provides a temporary increase in offshore revenue sharing for the Gulf Coast in 2020 and 2021, allowing those states to invest in priorities such as coastal restoration and hurricane protection.
The Barnes Dennig tax team is continuing to analyze the new law and the impacts on our clients. Stay tuned to the Barnes Dennig blog to learn more about future updates and changes that may impact you. Please contact a member of the Barnes Dennig tax team if you have questions.