On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the 2017 Tax Cuts And Jobs Act. It’s been a good 30 years since the last time the Internal Revenue Code received such a major update. Among other changes, the new law increases the Standard Deduction For Individuals starting with 2018. But for 2017 tax returns, the old law still applies where individual taxpayers can still effectively choose to itemize or take the Standard Deduction.
Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction when they file their federal tax return. However, some filers may be able to lower their tax bill by itemizing when they file their 2017 tax return. Before choosing to take the standard deduction or itemize, it’s a good idea to figure deductions using both methods and choose the method with the most benefit.
So here are some tips to help you decide how to save the most in 2017 taxes:
Figuring Itemized Deductions
Home mortgage interest
State and local income taxes or sales taxes – but not both
Real estate and personal property taxes
Gifts to charities
Casualty or theft losses
Unreimbursed medical and employee business expenses above certain amounts
Know the Standard Deduction
For taxpayers who don’t itemize, the standard deduction for 2017 depends on their filing status:
Single — $6,350
Married Filing Jointly — $12,700
Head of Household — $9,350
Married Filing Separately — $6,350
Qualifying Widow(er) — $12,700
If a taxpayer is 65 or older, or blind, the standard deduction is more, but may be limited if another person claims that taxpayer as a dependent.
Tax Planning For 2018
Starting in 2018 tax rates are lower so less of you will get to keep more of your income, a deduction is worth less. On top of that, several popular deductions are disappearing or getting substantially limited and in combination with a nearly doubled standard deduction, less taxpayers will be itemizing.
Limit On Deduction For State And Local Taxes – A taxpayer may claim an itemized deduction of only up to $10,000 ($5,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return) in (i) personal state and local property taxes, and (ii) state and local income taxes (or sales taxes in lieu of income taxes). Taxes paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business are not subject to this limitation.
Limit On Deduction Of Mortgage Interest – For mortgages incurred after December 31, 2017, taxpayers may deduct interest on up to $750,000 of principal (mortgages existing before January 1, 2018 are still subject to the pre-existing law’s $1 million limit). But for all taxpayers there is no longer a deduction for interest paid on home equity loans.
Elimination Of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions And Deduction For Moving Expenses – A taxpayer can no longer deduct miscellaneous itemized deductions which include unreimbursed employee expenses and tax preparation costs. Also the deduction for moving expenses is gone.
What Should You Do?
You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), South Los Angeles County (Long Beach) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.