Preliminary Details and Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would reform both individual income and corporate income taxes and would move the United States to a territorial system of business taxation.
- According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly lower marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to a 1.7 percent increase in GDP over the long term, 1.5 percent higher wages, and an additional 339,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a pro-growth tax plan, which, when fully implemented, would spur an additional $600 billion in federal revenues from economic growth. These new revenues would reduce the cost of the plan substantially. Depending on the baseline used to score the plan, current policy or current law, the new revenues could bring the plan closer to revenue neutral.
- Over the next decade, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would increase GDP by 2.86 percent over the current baseline forecasts, or an average of 0.29 percent per year. In 2018, GDP growth would be 0.44 percent over the baseline forecast.
- On a static basis, the plan would lead to 0.3 percent lower after-tax income on average for all taxpayers and 0.6 percent lower after-tax income on average for the top 1 percent in 2027, due to the expiration of the majority of the individual income tax cuts, but retention of chained CPI. When accounting for the increased GDP, after-tax incomes of all taxpayers would increase by 1.1 percent in the long run.
Changes to the Individual Income Tax
• Lowers most individual income tax rates, including the top marginal rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Retains the current seven-bracket structure, but bracket widths are modified.
• Increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for joint filers in 2018 (compared to $6,500, $9,550, and $13,000 respectively under current law).
• Eliminates the personal exemption.
- Retains the charitable contribution deduction, and limits the mortgage interest deduction to the first $750,000 in principal value. Limits the state and local tax deduction to a combined $10,000 for income, sales, and property taxes. Taxes paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business are not limited.
- Limits or eliminates a number of other deductions.
- Expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, while increasing the phaseout from$110,000 in current law to $400,000 married couples. The first $1,400 would be refundable.
- Effectively repeals the individual mandate penalty, by lowering the penalty amount to $0, effective January 1, 2019.
- Raises the exemption on the alternative minimum tax from $86,200 to $109,400 for married filers, and increases the phase-out threshold to $1 million.
- The majority of individual income tax changes would be temporary, expiring on December 31, 2025. Several, such as the adoption of chained CPI and functional repeal of the individual mandate, would be permanent.Changes to Business Taxes
- Lowers the corporate income tax rate permanently to 21 percent, starting in 2018.
- Establishes a 20 percent deduction of qualified business income from certain pass-through businesses. Specific service industries, such as health, law, and professional services, are excluded. However, joint filers with income below $315,000 and other filers with income below $157,500 can claim the deduction fully on income from service industries. This provision would expire December 31, 2025.
- Allows full and immediate expensing of short-lived capital investments for five years. Increases the section 179 expensing cap from $500,000 to $1 million.
- Limits the deductibility of net interest expense to 30 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for four years, and 30 percent of earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) thereafter.
- Eliminates net operating loss carrybacks and limits carryforwards to 80 percent of taxable income.
- Eliminates the domestic production activities deduction (section 199) and modifies other provisions, such as the orphan drug credit and the rehabilitation credit.
- Enacts deemed repatriation of currently deferred foreign profits, at a rate of 15.5 percent for cash and cash-equivalent profits and 8 percent for reinvested foreign earnings.
- Moves to a territorial system with base erosion rules.
- Eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax.Other Changes
• Doubles the estate tax exemption from $5.6 million to $11.2 million, which expires on December 31, 2025. The exemption will increase with inflation.
Impact on the Economy
According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would increase the long-run size of the U.S. economy by 1.7 percent (Table 3). The larger economy would result in 1.5 percent higher wages and a 4.8 percent larger capital stock. The plan would also result in 339,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs.
The larger economy and higher wages are due chiefly to the significantly lower cost of capital under the proposal, which reduces the corporate income tax rate and accelerates expensing of capital investment for short-lived assets.
The long-run economic changes are generated by the corporate income tax rate cut. Table 4 below isolates the economic impact of this key provision that increases long-run economic growth.
The growth of GDP under this plan, however, is not linear. In 2018, the first year of this tax plan, growth is projected to jump 0.44 percent above the current baseline projection as firms take advantage of the full and immediate expensing of equipment and the lower corporate income tax rate. These provisions encourage capital investment.
The initial spike in growth is reduced later during the decade, however, when growth falls slightly below the baseline. This is due to the temporary nature of many of these provisions. Economic growth is borrowed from the future, but the plan, in aggregate, still increases economic growth over the long run.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents a dramatic overhaul of the U.S. tax code. Our model results indicate that the plan would be pro-growth, boosting long-run GDP 1.7 percent and increasing the domestic capital stock by 4.8 percent. Wages, long stagnant, would increase 1.5 percent, while the reform would produce 339,000 jobs. These economic effects would have a substantial impact on revenues as well, as indicated by the plan’s significantly lower revenue losses under dynamic scoring.
For the full report please visit https://taxfoundation.org/final-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-details-analysis/
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