Rhode Island Approves Tax Reform Package

June 9, 2010

Last week the Rhode Island General Assembly approved, and the Governor is expected to sign today, a bill cutting the state’s top marginal income tax rate from 9.9 percent to 5.99 percent and reducing the number of tax brackets from 5 to 3. The revenue-neutral reform will take effect January 1, 2011.

The vote was unanimous in both houses of the legislature. Elements of the reform:

  • Eliminates the option to itemize deductions
  • Increases the standard deduction amounts for most tax payers
  • Reduces the number of tax credits
  • Eliminates the states alternative minimum tax and optional tax flat system

Under the legislation, the vast majority of Rhode Island taxpayers – those with adjusted gross income below $500,000 – would see a tax decrease, House leaders said. The new standard deductions would be $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for those filing jointly.

The reform was an effort to change the reputation of Rhode Island as a high-tax state. The lower marginal income tax rate, as well as the other elements of the reform, is thought to make Rhode Island’s state tax structure more competitive and effective at attracting businesses and people to the state.

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