Special Alert: House GOP Leaders
Reveal their Tax Reform Plan
What You Need To Know
Focused on You. Dedicated to Your Success.
November 3, 2017

The House GOP leaders unveiled their proposed tax reform legislation yesterday. Although nothing has passed in the House or the Senate, we wanted to make you aware of the dialogue that has opened. If the proposed changes pass the legislative proceedings and are signed into law by President Trump, we will immediately inform you.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) , proposed by House GOP leaders, includes numerous changes to the corporate and individual tax system. It is based on the nine-page framework that the White House and congressional Republican leaders proposed in September .

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, the author of the tax bill, said the House should pass the plan by Thanksgiving. It is expected that the average family of four will save $1,182 a year in taxes if TCJA is signed into law.

Even so, TCJA would increase the federal deficit by $1.487 trillion over the 10 years after it is implemented, which is just under the $1.5 trillion budget window created by the recently passed budget resolution. Per Senate rules, no provision of a bill passed under reconciliation can add to the deficit outside of the budget's 10-year window. The TCJA's deficit additions would accelerate in later years, with around $166.8 billion projected to be added in the 10 th year. Since the major tax cuts in the bill are proposed to be permanent, TCJA provisions would likely continue to add to the deficit outside of the 10-year window. If that were the case, the bill would need to be rewritten to pass the Senate.

Here are some of the legislation's key proposals: 
  • The highest tax bracket would remain at 39.6%: According to reports, the plan would propose a fourth marginal tax bracket on high-income earners. It will reportedly apply to married couples making more than $1 million a year. 
  • New individual tax brackets
  1. 12%: Applies to incomes up to $45,000 for an individual and $90,000 for a married couple. 
  2. 25%: Applies to incomes up to $200,000 for an individual and $260,000 for couples. 
  3. 35%: Applies to incomes up to $500,000 for an individual and $1 million for couples. 
  4. For single parents that are heads of households, the thresholds would be the midpoint between individuals and joint filers, except for the highest bracket which would still kick in at $500,000. 
  • A change to the state and local tax deduction. One of the biggest hang-ups for Republicans in states like New York, New Jersey, and California has been the proposed elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. The benefit allows people to deduct those taxes from their federal bill. The GOP reached a deal that would allow people to deduct state and local property taxes up to $10,000, but not income or sales taxes. 
  • Corporate tax cut will be immediate and permanent. The cut to 20% from the current 35% will is designed to be permanent. 
  • Immediate expensing of business investments. Companies can deduct the cost of business investments from their tax bill in the year that they make them instead of spreading it out over multiple years. 
  • Elimination of the estate tax. The threshold for the tax, which applies only to estates with greater than $5.6 million in assets during 2018, would double to over $10 million. Then, the plan would phase out the tax after six years. 
  • Repatriation tax rate. The repatriation rate will be a mandatory one-time tax on overseas assets for U.S. companies. Illiquid assets would be taxed at a 5% rate, spread out over a longer period than liquid assets like cash which would be taxed at a 12% rate. 
  • No repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate. Despite Trump's last-minute push to eliminate the penalty for not having insurance, such a provision was not included in the plan. 
  • No changes to 401(k) plans. Despite a back-and-forth between House tax writers and the White House that appeared to suggest some change to retirement-savings accounts would be included in the tax bill, there were no changes proposed in the first iteration. 
  • Increase in the size of the child tax credit. The credit will increase to $1,600 from $1,000. The bill would also add a credit of $300 for each non-child dependent or parent for five years, after which that provision would expire. 
  • Limiting home-mortgage-interest deduction. On new-home purchases, interest on loans up to $500,000 would be deductible. The current limit is $1 million. 
  • A larger standard deduction. To avoid raising taxes on those currently in the 10% tax bracket, the standard deduction for all taxes would increase to $12,000 for individuals (up from $6,350) and $24,000 for married couples (up from $12,700). 
  • A 25% rate for pass-through businesses. Instead of getting taxed at an individual rate for business profits, people who own their own businesses would pay at the so-called pass-through rate. There will be some guardrails on what kinds of businesses can claim this rate, to avoid individuals abusing the lower tax. 
  • Elimination of most personal itemized deductions and many credits. The only deduction preserved explicitly in the plan is for charitable gifts and edited home-mortgage interest. Some of these include the elimination of the: 
  1. Student-loan-interest deduction
  2. Medical-expense deduction
  3. Moving deduction
  4. Alimony-payment deduction
  • Repeal of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The tax, which forces people who qualify because of an outsized number of deductions, would be eliminated under the legislation. 
  • Create a tax on large private university endowments. Private universities with assets of more than $100,000 per student will pay a 1.4% excise tax on their net investment income. 
  • Repeal the Johnson Amendment. The current rule prevents tax-exempt nonprofits from making explicit election endorsements. 
  • Eliminate the ability to deduct interest on bonds for sports stadiums from federal taxes. Currently, local governments issue bonds to pay for the construction of sports facilities, this would prevent people from deducting interest income from those bonds on their federal taxes.

More detailed information is available in an article entitled Details of Tax Reform Legislation Revealed published on November 2, 2017, in the Journal of Accountancy .

Feel free to call us at 610-828-1900 or contact either David Gibbs, CPA, MBA, partner at David.Gibbs@MCC-CPAs.com or myself Marty.McCarthy@MCC-CPAs.com with questions. We are always happy to help.
Martin C. McCarthy, CPA, CCIFP
Managing Partner
McCarthy & Company, PC

Disclaimer This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Information contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used as tax advice, and cannot be used by the recipient to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. We strongly advise you to seek professional assistance with respect to your specific issue(s).