Tax Man LLC

Tax Changes 2018

Miscellaneous Final Comments

Perhaps the greatest frustration with tax law is that it is ever-changing.  For example, the Trump Tax Cuts for the most part expire on December 31, 2025.   But . . . Not all of them do.  A few provisions were made permanent (about as permanent as ice in desert), but most expire after 2025.  Then what?  Barring extensions of provisions or making things permanent, it all reverts back to 2017 tax rates, rules, etc.  What a nightmare!

Things That Didn't Change:

  • Tuition Credits
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • Contributions to IRA, 401(k)s, and other pension plans
  • Most Section 125 benefits - Dependent Care, Medical Spending
  • Home Sale Exclusion for Principal Residence
  • Tax Free Gift Exclusion of $15,000 (but also not a deduction)
  • Alimony Deduction (and Inclusion to the recipient)
  • Penalty for Not Having Health Care (only one more year!!!)
  • Capital Gain Tax Rates, Holding Periods and Obamacare Surcharge Tax
  • Itemized Deductions (but with a higher threshold to meet) for: 

Medical Expenses

State and Local Taxes (subject to a $10,000 maximum)

Mortgage Interest (to buy build or improve your home)

Charitable Donations

Gambling Losses only up to Gambling Winnings

But . . . None of these will help if they don't exceed the higher free standard deduction ($12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married filing jointly, $18,000 for head of household)

Things That Were Omitted:
(and may or may not come back)

  • Mortgage Insurance Premiums
  • Tuition Deduction
  • Debt Cancellation for Short Sales/Foreclosures of your Home
  • A Various of boring Business Credits

2019 Issues for Next Tax Year

There are a few things from the Tax Cuts don't kick in until 2019 to help cause even more confusion:

Obamacare Penalty:
They removed the health care penalty if you who don't have or can't afford  "affordable" insurance.  But you're still stuck for 2018.

This changes in 2019, but it's now more confusing rather than simpler:
    For divorces in 2018 or earlier, alimony is still deductible to the payor and taxable to the recipient.
    If the divorce occurs in 2019 or later (or is redetermined through the courts after 2018), it's neither deductible to the payor, nor taxable to the recipient.
    So now, we need to know and document WHEN someone was divorced to determine the tax issue.

The "You Can't Make This Up"
2018 Stupid Issue of the Tax Law

There are many candidates for this year's winner, but . .  .
The Winner of the Who Cares Award is . . .
The 2018 tax on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer or importer of certain types of arrow shafts is 52 cents per shaft.
I told you . . . You can't make this stuff up!

Randall S. van Reken, EA, CFP, ATP