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tax reform changes

The conference version of the tax bill was released on Friday. The House and the Senate will be voting to approve the updated tax bill this week with what seems to be wide spread support from the Republican party which is all they need to sign the bill into law before Christmas. Most of the changes will not take effect until 2018 with new tax rates for individuals set to expire in 2025. At which time the tax rates and brackets will return to their current state. Here is a run down of some of the main changes baked into the updated tax bill:

Individual Tax Rates

They are keeping 7 tax brackets with only minor changes to percentages in each bracket. The top tax bracket was reduced from 39.6% to 37%.

Capital Gains Rates

There were no changes to the capital gains rates and they threw out the controversial mandatory FIFO rule for calculating capital gains tax when selling securities.

Standard Deduction and Personal Exemptions

They did double the standard deduction limits. Single tax payers will receive a $12,000 standard deduction and married couples filing joint will receive a $24,000 standard deduction.

The personal exemptions are eliminated.

Mortgage Interest Deduction


New mortgages would be capped at $750,000 for purposes of the home mortgage interest deduction.

State and Local Tax Deductions

State and local tax deduction will remain but will be capped at $10,000. An ouch for New York State. That $10,000 can be a combination of your property tax and either sales or income tax (whichever is larger or will get you to the cap of $10,000).

Oh and you cannot prepay your 2018 state income taxes in 2017 to avoid the cap. They made it clear that if you prepay your 2018 state income taxes in 2017, you will not be able to deduct them in 2017.

Medical Expense Deductions

Medical expense deductions will remain for 2017 and 2018 and they lowered the AGI threshold to 7.5%. Beginning in 2019, the threshold will change back to the 10% threshold.

Miscellaneous Expense Deductions

Under the current rules, you are able to deduct miscellaneous expenses that exceed 2% of your AGI. That was eliminated. This includes unreimbursed business expenses and home office expenses.

A Few Quick Ones

Student Loan Interest: Still deductible

Teacher Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Still deductible

Tuition Waivers: Still not taxable

Fringe Benefits (including moving expenses): Will be taxable starting in 2018 (except for military)

Child Tax Credit: Doubled to $2,000 per child

Gain Exclusion On Sale Of Primary Residence: No Change

Obamacare Individual Mandate: Eliminated

Corporate AMT: Eliminated

Individual AMT: Remains but exemption is increased: Individuals: $70,300 Married: $109,400

Corporate Tax Rate: Drops to 21% in 2018

Federal Estate Tax: Remains but exemption limit doubles


For divorce agreements signed after December 31, 2018, alimony will no longer be deducible. This only applies to divorce agreements executed or modified after December 31, 2018.

529 Plans

Under current tax law, you do not pay taxes on the earnings for distributions from 529 accounts for qualified college expenses. The new tax reform allows 529 account owners to distribute up to $10,000 per student for public, private and religious elementary and secondary schools, as well as home school students.

Pass-Through Income For Business

This is still a little cloudy but in general under the conference bill, owners of pass-through companies and sole proprietors will be taxed at their individual tax rates less a 20% deduction for business-related income, subject to certain wage limits and exceptions. The deduction would be disallowed for businesses offering “professional services” above a threshold amount; phase-ins begin at $157,500 for individual taxpayers and $315,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

Michael Ruger

About Michael………

Hi, I’m Michael Ruger. I’m the managing partner of Greenbush Financial Group and the creator of the nationally recognized Money Smart Board blog . I created the blog because there are a lot of events in life that require important financial decisions. The goal is to help our readers avoid big financial missteps, discover financial solutions that they were not aware of, and to optimize their financial future.

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