The IRS is updating its individual income tax brackets for 2019 and making a few other changes worth noting.
The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 made big changes to certain federal tax laws, tax brackets and changed deductions.
Most notably, the standard deduction nearly doubled ($ 12,000 single and $ 24,000 married filing jointly) and some tax deductions were either eliminated or reduced. Although some tax deductions, like the dependent exemption, went away with the passage of the new tax reform law, there are still tax deductions and credits you can claim to maximize your tax refund.
More: Say goodbye to these 3 tax deductions on your 201[ads1]8 filing
Here are five key changes to the federal tax code to know about:
Tax rate changes
2019 will mark the first year under the Trump-backed tax reform bill, which overhauled the tax code that resulted in lower individual income tax rates, a doubled standard deduction and elimination of person exemptions.
See: Here are your new income tax brackets for 2019
Child tax credits
If you took advantage of the child tax credit in 2017, you were able to claim a $ 1,000 credit on your income tax return for each child under 17 who qualified. For 2018, that deduction has doubled to $ 2,000 per qualifying child.
The child's tax credit was nonrefundable before the TCJA. Now, the refundable portion is equal to 15% of your earned income over $ 2,500, up to $ 1,400.
For many businesses, the law changes created a new 20 percent qualified business income deduction. Other deductions and credits have been changed as well, including revised depreciation methods and expanded options for expensing business property. There are also new rules for like-child exchanges and fringe benefits. In addition, employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees during tax years 2018 and 2019 may qualify for a new business credit.
Business owners can refer to the Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses page for updates and resources on these topics and other business-related changes.
Charitable and medical deductions
The tax overhaul temporarily lowered the threshold for the medical expense deduction.
For the 2017 and 2018 tax years, you are able to claim an itemized deduction for out-of-pocket health care costs to the extent they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.
Starting in 2019, that threshold will leap back up to 10 percent – where it had previously been for most taxpayers.
The charitable donation deduction is on the table, even after the tax overhaul. The only difference now is how many people will be able to claim it.
If you are just short of the new standard deduction of $ 12,000 (single) or $ 24,000 (married and filing jointly), you might be able to itemize in 2018 if you "bunch" multiple years of charitable donations and get over the hurdle .
Estate planning changes
For high-net worth individuals looking to make estate planning decisions, the inheritance tax exemption doubled to $ 11.18 million for 2018, up from an expected amount of $ 5.6 million.
Married couples can combine exemptions with $ 22.36 million in exemptions. This increased exemption is scheduled to fall back to $ 5.6 million in 2026.
Sources: IRS, CNBC, U.S. Pat. News & World Report
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