For 2018, the standard deduction amounts will increase to simplify the deduction scheme. More taxpayers will find it beneficial to claim the standard deduction. Itemized deductions have been modified for the 2018 tax year following tax reform. Many of the itemized deductions have either disappeared or changed. Here is how the itemized deductions found on Schedule A have changed.
In late 2017, the IRS issued Notice 2017-64 which provides the annual cost of living adjustments and contribution limits on 401(k) plans, pension plans and retirement accounts for 2018. Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes as to how cost of living adjustments are made, the previously released amounts remain unchanged.
The newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Act") gave us what some people refer to as "mandatory repatriation" for previously untaxed foreign earnings of specified foreign corporations. In other words, Section 965 of the Internal Revenue Code now requires some taxpayers to pay tax on the untaxed foreign earnings of certain foreign corporations as if the earnings had been repatriated to the United States. This will take effect for the 2017 tax year for a majority of taxpayers.
The Trump administration's trade policy made a bold statement with a spontaneous announcement to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The president excluded Canada and Mexico, for now.
The Internal Revenue Service announced on March 13 that it plans to end its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) on Sept. 28, 2018. The OVDP allowed taxpayers to avoid prosecution by voluntarily disclosing untaxed money held overseas and paying a set penalty. The OVDP, which has been available since 2009, has experienced a significant decline in taxpayer participation as awareness of offshore tax and reporting requirements has increased.
The US has a tax burden of 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a third (30 percent) lower than the G7 average (of 31.1 percent) shows research by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.
Under the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping tax (GST) lifetime exemption amounts have now increased to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for married couples. After increasing with inflation each year through 2025, the exemption amounts will revert back to the 2017 levels ($5,490,000 and $10,980,000) on Jan. 1, 2026. These substantial, yet temporary, increases in the exemption amounts present a unique opportunity for the implementation of various estate planning techniques that will allow the transfer of wealth to future generations.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on Feb. 9, 2018, retroactively extends over 30 tax provisions that had expired at the end of 2016. This one year extension applies to the extended provisions and is effective for 2017 only. Many of the extended provisions are related to energy credits which are especially important for businesses and individual taxpayers.
Twenty years! That's how long Roth IRAs have been around. In the year 2000 only about $77 billion was invested in these types of accounts but by 2017 it is estimated that there is almost $3 trillion in Roth IRAs. While these accounts have enjoyed explosive growth over two decades, many things are not fully understood about this tax-free retirement account.
Beginning in 2018, regardless of when incurred, home equity loan interest is generally not deductible under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The IRS has issued clarifying guidance that taxpayers, in certain situations, can continue to deduct interest on a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage, as mortgage interest. All the interest paid on these types of loans is deductible if they are secured by a qualified residence and the total loans do not exceed the home's cost. Also, the total amount of these loans cannot exceed $750,000, reduced to $375,000 for taxpayers filing as married filing separate.