By Chelsea May
In December, President Trump signed into law what is commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This legislation, which is mostly effective as of January 1, 2018, is the first major reform to the federal tax code since 1986 and affects almost every individual and business taxpayers in some way or another. For individuals, the top tax rate has temporarily dropped from 39.6% to 37% and the standard deduction has nearly doubled. Personal exemptions are repealed and the mortgage interest deduction is limited to interest on a mortgage of $750,000 or less per married couple. The AGI limitation for deductions of cash donations to public charities increased from 50% to 60% and the deduction for alimony payments was repealed (for divorces or separations executed after December 31, 2018). Corporate tax rates have dropped from a 35% top rate to a permanent 21% flat rate, a 20% deduction is now available for certain pass through entity income and the corporate AMT has been repealed.
The new tax act also increased the federal estate and gift tax exemption amount. Specifically, for lifetime gifts and the estates of any decedents passing between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2025, the estate tax and GST tax exemption amounts were increased to $10 million per person, adjusted for inflation occurring after 2011 (expected to be about $11.2 million for 2018). The marginal transfer tax rate remains at 40%. Read more