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Home > Tax News

Trump's Tax Plan and How It Affects You

By Kimberly Amadeo
Updated February 05, 2018


On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in 2018. The top individual tax rate will drop to 37 percent. It cuts income tax rates, doubles the standard deduction, and eliminates personal exemptions. The corporate cuts are permanent, while the individual changes expire at the end of 2025.
Here's a summary of how the Act changes income taxes, deductions for child and elder care, and business taxes.


Income Taxes
The Act keeps the seven income tax brackets but lowers tax rates. Employees will see changes reflected in their withholding in their February 2018 paychecks. These rates revert to the 2017 rates in 2026.
The Act creates the following chart. The income levels will rise each year with inflation. But they will rise more slowly than in the past because the Act uses the chained consumer price index. Over time, that will move more people into higher tax brackets.

Trump's tax plan doubles the standard deduction. A single filer's deduction increases from $6,350 to $12,000.
The deduction for Married and Joint Filers increases from $12,700 to $24,000. It reverts back to the current level in 2026. It's estimated that 94 percent of taxpayers will take the standard deduction. The National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors opposed this. As more taxpayers take a standard deduction, fewer would take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction.
That could lower housing prices. But this could be a good time to do that. Many people are concerned that the real estate market is in a bubble that could lead to another collapse.
It eliminates personal exemptions. Before the Act, taxpayers subtracted $4,150 from income for each person claimed. As a result, some families with many children will pay higher taxes despite the Act's increased standard deductions.
The Act eliminates most itemized deductions. That includes moving expenses, except for members of the military. Those paying alimony can no longer deduct it, while those receiving it can. This change begins in 2019 for divorces signed in 2018.
It keeps deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings, and student loan interest.
The Act limits the deduction on mortgage interest to the first $750,000 of the loan. Interest on home equity lines of credit can no longer be deducted. Current mortgage-holders aren't affected.
Taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes. They must choose between property taxes and income or sales taxes. This will harm taxpayers in high-tax states like New York and California.
The Act expands the deduction for medical expenses for 2017 and 2018.
It allows taxpayers to deduct medical expenses that are 7.5 percent or more of income. Before the bill, the cutoff was 10 percent for those born after 1952. Seniors already had the 7.5 percent cutoff. At least 8.8 million people used the deduction in 2015.
The Act repeals the Obamacare tax on those without health insurance in 2019. Without the mandate, the Congressional Budget Office estimates 13 million people would drop their plans. The government would save $338 billion by not having to pay their subsidies. But health care costs will rise because fewer people will get the preventive care needed to avoid expensive emergency room visits. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, approved the bill only because Trump promised to reinstate subsidies to insurers as outlined in the Murray-Alexander bill.
The $7 billion in subsidies reimburse them for lowering costs for low-income Americans. But the CBO said it won't offset the higher health care prices created by the mandate repeal.
The Act doubles the estate tax exemption to $11.2 million for singles and $22.4 million for couples. That helps the top 1 percent of the population who pay it. These top 4,918 tax returns contribute $17 billion in taxes. The exemption reverts to pre-Act levels in 2026.
It keeps the Alternative Minimum Tax. It increases the exemption from $54,300 to $70,300 for singles and from $84,500 to $109,400 for joint. The exemptions phase out at $500,000 for singles and $1 million for joint. The exemption reverts to pre-Act levels in 2026.
Child and Elder Care
The Act increases the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000. Even parents who don't earn enough to pay taxes can claim the credit up to $1,400. It increases the income level from $110,000 to $400,000 for married tax filers.
It allows parents to use 529 savings plans for tuition at private and religious K-12 schools. They can also use the funds for expenses for home-schooled students.
It allows a $500 credit for each non-child dependent. The credit helps families caring for elderly parents.