Making Sense of the 2018 Standard Deduction

Donald Trump’s tax reforms have attracted, if nothing else, a lot of attention and the usual political controversy that follows his administration when he announces changes. However, the 2018 Standard Deduction is not reserved only for the wealthy and/or high-income earners. It covers 70% of all taxpayers. So, we’ve created a succinct overview of the implications posed by this new tax item, as a guide for you and your family.

The first thing to capture one’s attention is that the 2018 Standard Deduction has nearly doubled versus 2017, for all 3 primary categories of taxpayers. So, if you are a single filer, your deduction jumps from $6,350 to $12, 000; similarly, ahead of the household filer goes from $9,350 to $18,000, and joint filers enjoy a leap from $12,700 to $24,000.

As a rule, eye-popping changes like this come with a caveat. Very often apparent big benefits as outlined above are accompanied by a deletion or reduction of another tax allowance. And, that’s also the case here where the longstanding personal exemption has left the stage – effectively eliminating $4,050 for each member of the family. This naturally embraces not only the filer but also dependents such as children and elderly parents, thus making it a focal issue for large families. The removal of the personal exemption per individual (possibly multiple times on a single return) has the effect of pushing taxable income up – perhaps considerably depending on family circumstances.

We advise that you temper any excitement that the 2018 Deduction creates at first glance in favor of making a more sober assessment of the overall situation. Inevitably it means approaching things in a measured way by answering one important question: can the new Standard Deduction offset this clear disadvantage or even override it?

The answer is a little convoluted but comprehensible for most. It should be kept You’ll also want to keep in mind that the new tax laws have also introduced changes in child credit and lower tax rates across the board. Therefore, evaluating the opposite effects of improved deductions and removal of personal exemptions involves looking at things in a collective manner. All of these items end up coming together to converge on the bottom line, resulting in a net effect that varies substantially depending on your family size.

One big change of note: the 2018 Deduction law requires you to detail specific allowable deduction claims through Schedule A. This creates the opportunity to derive obtain extra savings and is a departure from simply relying on one’s filing status. The latter is still nonetheless an option available to filers, although relatively less accommodating if you’re looking to gain every possible tax advantage. The suggested Schedule A route involves more time and forethought but yields bigger tax reductions to make it well worth the effort.

In conclusion, the 2018 tax changes with special emphasis on the Standard Deduction seem, at first glance, to favor single filers and two-member family joint filers. However, larger families who make the effort to expand their overview of their taxable affairs should derive a net benefit as well; or at very least minimize potential tax increases.

It goes without question that the input of a tax professional can help to clear these muddy waters and will go a long way towards creating a good tax plan. For many, it will go further and propel them into the light at the end of this new twisty tax tunnel. So, give us a call today and see how we can help with your tax questions.

Call 404-504-7051 to set up a free initial consultation with Roe CPA, P.C.