CONFERENCE AGREEMENT – Key Docs:
- March 23: Congress Passes, President Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill including Tax Technical Corrections
- JCT Revenue Estimates (including extension of airport and airway excise taxes and expenditure authority)
- JCT Explanation of Revenue Provisions in Omnibus (including Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2018)
- Dec. 22: President signed the tax bill.
- Dec. 20: House voted 224-201 to give final approval to the tax bill, clearing it for the President’s signature. Senate passed the tax bill 51-48, on a straight party-line vote.
- CLICK HERE to read the Joint Explanatory Statement (report language explaining the tax agreement — scroll down to page 191)
- CLICK HERE to read the full legislative text of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
- CLICK HERE to read the UPDATED Joint Committee on Taxation revenue table.
- CLICK HERE to read the CBO Cost Estimate.
- CLICK HERE for our comparison of House, Senate, and Conference Agreement.
- CLICK HERE for Joint Committee on Taxation Distributional Analysis.
- CLICK HERE for the Tax Policy Center distributional analysis.
Major Provisions in the Bill that Cut Taxes:
- Note: individual and pass-through cuts expire in 2025, but the corporate cut is permanent;
- Cuts corporate rate from 35% to 21% at a cost of $1.35 trillion;
- Creates seven new tax brackets — generating temporary and uneven tax cuts — and reduces the top rate for wealthy taxpayers to 37%, at a total cost of $1.2 trillion;
- Doubles the standard deduction, cutting taxes $720 billion [but this is offset by repeal of personal exemptions and deductions – see below];
- Raises the exemption threshold from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to $500k (single) and $1m (joint), at a cost of $637 billion;
- Expands the child credit from $1000 to $2000 (refundable up to $1400), cutting taxes $573 billion;
- Cuts taxes for “pass-through” businesses, establishing an effective top rate of 29.6%, at a cost of $414 billion;
- Switches to a territorial tax system that shields offshore corporate income from U.S. taxation, at a cost of $224 billion;
- Expands immediate deduction of business expenses (through bonus depreciation and sec. 179), at a cost of $112 billion;
- Doubles the estate tax exemption for wealthy Americans at cost of $83 billion [Fact: 99.8% of estates already pay no tax]; and
- Repeals the corporate AMT at a cost of $40 billion.
Major Provisions in the Bill that Raised Taxes:
- Repeals personal exemptions: +$1.2 trillion;
- Repeals many individual itemized deductions: +$668 billion;
- New tax rates on offshore repatriated income of 15.5% for cash and 8% for non-cash assets): +$339 billion;
- (Note: although this is scored as raising revenues, it favors corporations that have held profits offshore to avoid taxation, and allows them to repatriate those profits at significantly reduced tax rates–in effect, another corporate tax cut.)
- Limits net interest deduction: +$253 billion;
- Limits NOL deduction: +201 billion;
- New base erosion and anti-abuse tax: +$150 billion;
- Limits inflation adjustment of brackets: +$130 billion (allowing inflation to push Americans more quickly into higher brackets);
- Requires amortization of R&D expenses: +$120 billion (a disincentive to business R&D);
- Repeals deduction for domestic production: +$98 billion; and
- Repeals various insurance provisions: +$40 billion.
Other Major Provisions:
- Caps the state and local tax deduction at $10,000, which can be split between property, income, and sales tax (a big hit on people in high cost-of-living and high-tax States);
- Caps the mortgage interest deduction at $750,000 (current law is $1 million);
- Retains the current law student loan deduction;
- Retains current law exclusion for grad student tuition waivers (i.e., no new tax);
- Retains deduction for major medical expenses and expands it for 2017-18 by temporarily reducing the threshold from 10 percent down to 7.5 percent;
- Bonds: Retains private activity bonds (PABs) but repeals advance refunding and tax credit bonds;
- Retains child and dependent care tax credit and adoption credit;
- Retains current law prohibition on churches and nonprofits endorsing political candidates (i.e. Johnson amendment remains in place).
- OpensANWRto oil and gas drilling.
- Repeals the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) individual mandate. Background on individual mandate.
- $1.46 trillion over 10 years (deficit-financed), pushing the public debt close to 100% of GDP within a decade — and significantly higher if the temporary tax cuts are assumed to be extended.