Whether or not its comments about the lives of the presidents are accurate, and whatever you think about such casual violent fantasizing, I found this post, and the post to which it links, pretty amusing. I also liked Insty’s remark about this being what the Internet was meant to be.
THE INCREASED STANDARD DEDUCTION MEANS LOWER TAX AND EASIER RETURN PREPARATION FOR MANY TAXPAYERS
Continuing my series of posts on the changes to the federal tax code under the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the biggest change for individual taxpayers is, in my opinion, the increase of the standard deduction from $6350 in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018 for single filers, and from $12,700 in 2017 to $24,000 in 2018 for married filing jointly. The effect of that increase will be to reduce the tax liability of taxpayers who use the standard deduction instead of itemizing deductions, which is a large percentage of all taxpayers.
The large increase in the standard deduction will also have the effect of reducing, perhaps dramatically, the number of taxpayers who itemize their deductions. If your itemized deductions were more than the old standard deduction, but are now going to be less than the new standard deduction, you won’t have to itemize anymore. That’s going to not only reduce your tax liability, it’s also going to simplify the preparation of your return.
I have seen some commentaries suggesting that the new legislation doesn’t benefit lower-income taxpayers. I just don’t see how that can be so. Most lower income taxpayers (probably the vast majority) take the standard deduction. With the standard deduction nearly doubling for both single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing jointly, the result would have to be a reduction in tax in almost every case. Am I missing something?
I changed my mind on writing about the new federal tax legislation. I have two reasons:
1) the tax services have started producing their own analyses, so there’s commentary that’s not tainted (or consumed) by politics; and
2) I’m seeing a lot of what I can only call misinformation about what’s in the legislation.
I’ll start with a change made by the new legislation that’s easy to explain: the value of property that can be transferred by an individual without being subject to the federal estate tax or the federal gift tax goes up substantially under the new legislation. The individual exclusion amount will be essentially doubled, from $5.6 million to $11.2 million.
The effect on married couples will apparently be consistent with current law: a married couple gets 2x the individual exclusion amount, meaning that a married couple can now transfer $22.4 million without being subject to the federal estate or gift tax.
Stay tuned to this space for more highlights on what’s really in that tax legislation (not what the political commentators claim will be the effects).
I have written about this subject many times. It keeps coming up, so I keep putting my perspective on it out there for anyone who is interested. I think my perspective is somewhat unique, and is definitely different from the naysayers’ perspective. In addition to my experience as a lawyer dealing with land use questions, I have a lifetime, literally, of personal experience with this issue.
I’ll keep saying it: in my opinion, the presence of D-M is positive overall, and the naysayers must not have been paying attention when they moved here.
WE WILL FIND OUT SOON ENOUGH THE REAL EFFECTS OF THE NEW FEDERAL TAX LEGISLATION
I was going to write about some of the particulars of the just-passed federal tax legislation, but I changed my mind. I think a lot of what is being said about it is misinformed, but we will find out over time, as sources more informed and reliable than the political commentators (who are the ones making all the noise right now) weigh in. The political commentators are undoubtedly more interested in partisan posturing than they are in conveying actual facts about the legislation, anyway. I’m going to do my best to ignore them.
A recent item in the Arizona Daily Star told about plans to install (“build” isn’t really the right term, for reasons that will become clear) tiny houses in the Vail school district outside Tucson for teachers to live in. I’m staying completely away from the debate about whether or not this is the right dollars-and-cents solution to the teacher-housing situation. I’m interested in it because it’s a situation that provides a great example of the purposes of zoning and building codes, and the extent to which those codes should be used to limit what a property owner may choose to build, or install, on his or her property.
You can read my comments in my newsletter, posted in the publications section of my firm's web site.
NOT SEEING MUCH SYMPATHY FOR THE IRS…
In the comments to this blog post, which quotes a New York Times story (or is it an editorial?) about the IRS being faced with the task of implementing the extensive tax legislation that appears to be about to become law. Despite the suggestion by the author of the Times’ story, processing tax returns for the prior year while implementing legislation effective in the current year shouldn’t be an overwhelming task for the IRS. They do it just about every year. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure that the people at the IRS who process tax returns are not the same people who revise the regulations and publications.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.