Biden’s budget wants tax hikes, but expiring Trump tax cuts are the big showdown

In five years, most Americans have seen lower income tax rates and exploited the larger standard deduction, but without congressional action before the end of 2025, the rules could still roll back. levels set long before the pandemic left households blind and inflation raged.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden was budget announcement that details his latest efforts to tax the top of the income ladder. That includes a plan to increase Medicare-related tax rates for households earning more than $400,000. Other proposals include a minimum tax billionaire And quadruple current 1% stock repurchase tax – two ideas he proposes.

slim chance Biden’s proposed tax hike soon became law, considering Republicans had a majority in the House. According to observers, it is about political messages ahead of the 2024 presidential race.

Trump’s tax cuts for the rich will end soon

But the sun will soon set on Trump-era tax rules regarding marginal rates, standard deduction amounts, child tax credits and other provisions.. The rules are part of the Trump-era Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a law that amends income tax rules for individuals, real estate, small businesses, and corporations.

Jennifer Acuña of KPMG, a tax, consulting and accounting firm, said: “I consider the tax provisions that are due to expire in 2025 like the storm we have seen on the radar and it is slowly approaching. Acuña is the head of the company’s federal regulatory and legislative services team in the Washington National Tax Service.

‘I view the tax provisions that are due to expire in 2025 like this storm that we have seen on the radar and it is slowly approaching.’

— Jennifer Acuña, KPMG

“We are talking about middle-class taxpayers who will be affected by this,” said Acuña, as the lead counsel on the Senate Finance Committee, which helped draft the 2017 law. This.

What happens when the TCJA provisions expire in 2025 will spark a new round of debate between Republicans and Democrats over tax breaks for the rich, said Jorge Castro of law firm Miller & Chevalier, and also is the co-leader of the company’s tax policy practice. “You’re going to see a lot of things starting this year,” he added.

Erica York, senior economist and research director at the Tax Foundation, a right-wing tax policy think tank, added: “2025 is going to be a very messy year for tax policy. “

Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to try to make Trump-era tax law changes permanent. One bill, TJCA Permanent ActThere are more than 70 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

Steve Wamhoff, federal policy director at the left-wing Tax and Economic Policy Institute, said some parts of Trump’s tax cuts have eased the tax burden for many households. “The higher you go up the income ladder, the more you get out of making these tax cuts permanent,” he said.

The White House and congressional budget proposals should both talk about these expiring provisions and how to pay them Maya MacGuineas, chair of the Federal Budget Committee responsible for them, said if they were extended.

“Budgets that omit these deadlines are likely to paint an overly optimistic outlook, as extensions without compensation would significantly worsen the financial outlook,” she said in a statement. .

Biden’s budget documents say the White House will work with Congress to address the 2025 expiration “and focus tax policy on rewarding work, not wealth.”

On Thursday, Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters that the budget mentions a 2025 deadline for the administration to be “clear about our principles.” I’m here”.

Biden won’t support a penny in new taxes for people earning less than $400,000, she said. Dots. That includes making sure they don’t lose money when these tax cuts expire. But we think there is a way to do this in a financially responsible way.”

That happens by asking “the richest people to pay their fair share,” Young said.

Experts say what happens next will hinge on who will become president in 2025, which party controls Congress and how heavy the role of national debt will be. Some expiring terms could offer avenues for a deal. For others, it’s an open question.

Here is a look:

Standard deduction

The standard deduction nearly doubled under the 2017 law. In 2018, the standard deduction increase to $12,000 from $6,500 for individual filers and to $24,000 from $13,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The deduction is updated according to annual inflation. As a result, on the income tax return people are currently filing, the standard deduction valuable $12,950 for individuals and $25,900 for joint filers.

As the standard deduction increased, more people used it. That’s because itemizing only makes sense when the sum of the itemized deductions is greater than the standard deduction.

Around two-third IRS statistics show standard deduction personal profits in the year before the increase. About 90% of personal gains were made in the previous filing season, IRS figures show.

A still larger standard deduction, Acuña said, would be a low outcome given bipartisan appeal. “It works pretty well. It has really simplified the application process and is less polarizing.”

Income tax rate

TCJA reduced five of seven income tax rates and changed income levels as households moved to the next bracket. Only the 10% rate at the bottom of the table and the 35% ratio near the top are unchanged.

The top rate dropped to 37% from 39.6%. Biden pressed to return rate 39.6% both as a candidate and as president. “The biggest fights will be over terms affecting the wealthy,” York said.

Biden’s budget proposal on Thursday seeks to bring the top rate back to 39.6%. For households earning $1 million a year or more, the proposal would increase capital gains rates to 39.6% from 20%.

As for the lower tax rate? “I can see the political will from both political parties to extend that,” Mr. Castro said. “Nobody wants to raise taxes on lower and middle-class families.”

But even with an agreement to keep tax rates lower for low- and middle-income families, the details get complicated quickly considering the tax revenue at stake, Acuña said. “Any small modification costs a lot of money,” she notes.

Child tax credit

Before TCJA, The child tax credit paid out $1,000 per child, with increments of $75,000 for individuals and $110,000 for couples. The law doubled the amount and pushed the removal of the income condition much further back. But the credit is partially refundable, meaning taxpayers need earned income and tax liability to unlock the full payment.

The Plan to rescue Americans in 2021 changed that in a year. Payments have increased to $3,600 for each child under the age of 6 and $3,000 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. Half of the amount is paid in monthly installments and the rest in a 2021 tax refund. The credit has been repaid in full, suspending the earned income claim.

Credit has been the subject of debate — especially the earned income requirements. Advanced credit advocates have repeatedly tried to revive it, most recently at the end of 2022. York said: “The desire for legislators to work together on that is uncertain.

Broadly speaking, both sides want tax breaks for families with young children, Mr. Castro said. However, he noted that agreeing to a combination of eligibility rules and payout amounts would be an open question.

Biden’s budget proposal on Thursday would bring the credit back to the level it was in 2021. According to the Treasury Department document, the extended credit will run through 2025 and will be fully repaid in perpetuity. far.

State and local tax deductions

While the TCJA increased the standard deduction, it restricted some itemized deductions and capped the state and local tax deductions at $10,000. The deduction was previously unlimited, and if the tax rules go back to the way they were, the cap will return.

The $10,000 cap was controversial from the start, leading to lawsuits from several Democratic-led states. (The litigation was unsuccessful, and the Supreme Court last year refused to accept the case.)

There is a bipartisan group of legislators in states with higher state and local taxes, notably property taxes, known as SALT’s caucus. But will the SALT limit come back? “It’s probably a jumping ball right now,” Castro said.

Tax rules for small business owners

While the TCJA permanently cuts the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, the law also allows eligible taxpayers to deduct a 20% deduction on qualifying business income.

When corporations get a permanent tax cut, York said, the idea is to make it easier for transition businesses, including small businesses, to get a tax break.

For example, about 75% of the members in National Federation of Independent Businessa small business advocacy and trade organization that organizes their business as income-transfer entities to its owners or partners.

The deduction applies to businesses incorporated as limited liability companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and S. York said if the tax rules lapse, the amount The 20% deduction will be eliminated and the business owner’s income tax rate will also increase again.

critic, like Wamhoff, Be quick to note that there are many very well-off taxpayers who could benefit from tax rules that are seen as benefits for small businesses. The rules are complicated, and “a lot of these tax breaks are designed when someone is successful, it makes things easier for them.”

Acuña said one possible outcome could be a more restrictive version of the tax regulations contained in Section 199A. But nothing is certain. Compared to the prospect of a still larger standard deduction, “that is a lot more polarizing,” she said.

Victor Reklaitis contributed to this report


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