Earlier today, Trump administration officials released a document with a set of proposed goals for an overhaul of the federal taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. code:
Changes to the Individual Income TaxAn individual income tax (or personal income tax) is levied on the wages, salaries, investments, or other forms of income an individual or household earns. The U.S. imposes a progressive income tax where rates increase with income. The Federal Income Tax was established in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment. Though barely 100 years old, individual income taxes are the largest source of tax revenue in the U.S.
- Consolidates the current seven tax bracketA tax bracket is the range of incomes taxed at given rates, which typically differ depending on filing status. In a progressive individual or corporate income tax system, rates rise as income increases. There are seven federal individual income tax brackets; the federal corporate income tax system is flat. s into three, with rates on ordinary income of 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent. The administration did not specify the income thresholds to which these brackets would apply.
- Doubles the standard deductionThe standard deduction reduces a taxpayer’s taxable income by a set amount determined by the government. It was nearly doubled for all classes of filers by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an incentive for taxpayers not to itemize deductions when filing their federal income taxes. , from $6,350 to $12,700 for single filers, and from $12,700 to $25,400 for married filers.
- Provides “tax relief” to households with child and dependent care expenses, the form of which is not specified.
- Eliminates all itemized deductionItemized deductions allow individuals to subtract designated expenses from their taxable income and can be claimed in lieu of the standard deduction. Itemized deductions include those for state and local taxes, charitable contributions, and mortgage interest. An estimated 13.7 percent of filers itemized in 2019, most being high-income taxpayers. s, except for the charitable deduction and the mortgage interest deductionThe mortgage interest deduction is an itemized deduction for interest paid on home mortgages. It reduces households’ taxable incomes and, consequently, their total taxes paid. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the amount of principal and limited the types of loans that qualify for the deduction. .
- Eliminates “targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers,” which are not specified.
- Eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax.
- Eliminates the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax.
Changes to Business Income Taxes
- Reduces the “business tax rate” to 15 percent. This presumably implies that the corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. rate would be reduced from 35 percent to 15 percent, as well as creating a maximum tax rate of 15 percent on pass-through businessA pass-through business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or S corporation that is not subject to the corporate income tax; instead, this business reports its income on the individual income tax returns of the owners and is taxed at individual income tax rates. income.
- Moves to a territorial tax systemA territorial tax system for corporations, as opposed to a worldwide tax system, excludes profits multinational companies earn in foreign countries from their domestic tax base. As part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the United States shifted from worldwide taxation towards territorial taxation. , which would exempt foreign-source income from U.S. tax.
- Enacts a deemed repatriationTax repatriation is the process by which multinational companies bring overseas earnings back to the home country. Prior to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the U.S. tax code created major disincentives for U.S. companies to repatriate their earnings. Changes from the TCJA eliminate these disincentives. , at an unspecified rate, of currently deferred foreign-source income.
- Eliminates the federal estate taxAn estate tax is imposed on the net value of an individual’s taxable estate, after any exclusions or credits, at the time of death. The tax is paid by the estate itself before assets are distributed to heirs. .
All in all, the document does not present many details about the administration’s intentions regarding tax reform; in fact, it is less specific than the tax proposal released by the Trump campaign in September 2016. However, the document does indicate some of the administration’s central priorities for tax reform: large rate cuts for U.S. business income, substantial individual income tax reductions, and the curtailment of certain tax preferences.Share