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Understanding the 2018 Tax Reform
The 2018 tax reform had many impacts. For you and your family, these changes could mean lowered taxes, a new tax bracket, and/or different deduction limits. Read through the highlights of the tax reform below, and make an appointment with a Tax Professional to start your tax return.
A major change under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is the elimination of personal and dependent exemptions. Previously, the taxpayer, spouse, and any qualified dependents on the return received an exemption amount of $4,050 per person, which was used to reduce taxable income. Now, the standard deduction based on the filing status of the taxpayer has increased significantly. Therefore, fewer individuals will itemize deductions than previously.
In other words, the standard deduction (or how much you can deduct from your taxable income) applies only to the tax filer, versus each person in the household.
This also reduces and simplifies the amount of itemized deductions that qualify. There are some exceptions (like state income taxes, among others), but most taxpayers won’t have enough individual deductions to itemize deductions.
The individual tax brackets have been redefined significantly. The 7 brackets range from 10% to 37%, and the income limits for each bracket have been modified. What does this mean? A taxpayer would not be subject to a higher tax rate until the taxable income reaches a higher amount. For example, previously, a Married Filing Jointly couple that had taxable income of $18,650 or less was subject to a 10% tax rate. Now, the taxable income limit is $19,050 or less for the same rate.
For the majority of the tax brackets, the tax rate was lowered and the income limits were adjusted. For the lowest income bracket and those who fall in the 35% tax bracket, the tax rate actually stayed the same, but the income limit for each was raised (meaning you may have earned more money, but still fall into this same category). So, no matter which of the seven tax brackets you fall into this year, you will likely pay fewer taxes — but exactly how much less depends on your income and marital status.
The Child Tax Credit has increased from $1,000 to $2,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17. Though not a deduction, credits are very valuable.
For example, if a taxpayer has one qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit, the tax liability of the taxpayer is reduced by up to $2,000 (limited to the tax liability).
In addition, taxpayers who are not able to take the full amount against their tax liability may receive up to $1,400 per qualified child in a refundable credit, if certain conditions are met. The total credit cannot exceed $2,000 per qualifying child.
The Tax Cuts & Job Act also introduces the new Other Dependent Credit. This nonrefundable credit can reduce tax liability up to $500 for each child who does not qualify for the Child Tax Credit or certain qualifying relatives who live with the taxpayer all year.
For example, let’s say a taxpayer with an 18-year-old-dependent has a tax liability of $750. The Other Dependent Credit would reduce the tax liability down to $250 after applying the new $500 credit.
Under the Affordable Care Act, taxpayers without health insurance could be charged a penalty unless they had an exemption for any specific month that they did not have coverage. Starting with tax season 2020 (tax year 2019), taxpayers will not be charged a penalty.
As part of the new tax reform, not only did large corporations receive major tax cuts, but so did individual contractors, sole proprietors, and other individuals who file form 1040 with Schedule C.
Under certain conditions, these taxpayers are allowed a deduction of 20% of qualified business income, which reduces taxable income.
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