Tax Law: 2017 Tax Simplification Proposal
November 1, 2017
By: Curtis B. Cassner
House Republicans today released the details of their plans to overhaul the US Tax code. Here is a rundown of key provisions in their proposal:
- Chops the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% permanently, not temporarily as was earlier considered.
- Businesses would lose the ability to deduct certain executive compensation above $1 million, which they can now do for performance-based pay.
- Tax-exempt bonds could no longer be used to build professional sports stadiums.
- Sets a top 25% rate for pass-through businesses such as S corporations and partnerships. The plan includes complicated guardrails that limit people from turning what would otherwise be wage income taxed at up to 39.6% into business income taxed at a lower rate.
- New limits on corporate interest deductions, which would be capped at 30% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which is a measure of cash flow. Real-estate firms and small businesses would be exempt from that limit.
- Creates a new one-time tax on overseas profits set at 12% for cash holdings and 5% for illiquid holdings, a provision meant to force companies to repatriate overseas profits. Creates a new 10% tax on U.S. companies’ high-profit foreign subsidiaries, calculated on a global basis, but active overseas profits wouldn’t otherwise be taxed.
- Reduces seven individual income tax brackets to four at 12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%.
- Top tax bracket set for married couples earning $1,000,000 per year and individuals earning $500,000. Bottom tax bracket extends up to $90,000 for couples and $45,000 for individuals.
- The proposal doesn’t change the top tax rates on capital gains and dividend income.
- The bill would preserve head-of-household filing status, often used by single parents. The standard deduction for that group is midway between individuals and married couples.
- Nearly doubles individual standard deduction to $24,400 for married couples and $12,200 for singles in 2018.
- Increases child tax credit from $1,000 in 2017 to $1,600 plus $300 for each taxpayer, spouse and non-child dependents.
- Places new limit on home mortgage-interest deduction at loans up to $500,000, down from $1,000,000, but existing loans would be grandfathered.
- The estate-tax exemption, set for $5.6 million per person and $11.2 million per married couple, would double immediately. The tax would be repealed starting in 2024.
- Keeps 401(k) existing plan rules largely intact.
- Repeals the alternative minimum tax.
- Repeals an itemized deduction for medical expenses.
- Repeals the tax credit for adoption.
- Repeals the deduction for student-loan interest.