Why Itemizers Should Fear The GOP Tax Plan

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) September 21, 2017 Report, ”Itemized Tax Deductions for Individuals: Data Analysis”, “In 2014, 30% of all tax filers chose to itemize their deductions rather than claim the standard deduction”. This report was prepared by Sean Lowry, Analyst in Public Finance at the CRS. The GOP touts that what it wishes to do is double the standard deduction to $24,000.00. This means for a married couple, instead of subtracting what presently is $12,700 from their taxable income, they would be able to double it to $24,000.00. As a recent post points out ("The Republican Tax Agenda Has A 'Not Quite' Problem"), $12,700 x2 = $25,400, not $24,000. So, besides the tax plan being a wolf in sheep’s clothing due to all the deductions it takes away from the Middle class, and impacts seniors on Medicare while making the wealthier wealthier ("The GOP Tax Plan-A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing"), it nails itemizers, whether in the middle class or not. Let’s use some arithmetic to show why.

Let’s say a couple-one being a teacher-that itemizes has $75,000 or less in income. They have property taxes of $15,000.00 plus other itemized deductions like contributions to charities, mortgage interest, some state and local sales tax, a small amount of medical expenses, $250.00 in school classroom expenses, and so forth but all amounting to $21,000.00. Now, if instead of itemizing, the Senate plan will eliminate deductions for all property taxes, state and local taxes, the home mortgage interest deduction, charitable contributions, the school classroom expense, and any medical costs (even relocation costs are gone if the GOP gets its way). Instead, the GOP says to this itemizer, take our doubling of the standard deduction which the Republicans in the senate calculate at $24,000. Sounds like a good deal, right? Wrong. Why?

First, a single gets to take a standard deduction of $6,350 and one personal exemption ($4,050). Those 65 and older get an additional standard deduction of $1,250. All this adds up to $10,400, $11,650 if you’re over 65. The GOP plan would replace these figures with one standard deduction of $12,000, again $24,000 for married couples. This amounts to a 15% increase; 3% increase for seniors ("The 'Doubled' Standard Deduction In The GOP Tax Plan Is a Lie"). Let’s get back to the married couple itemizer.

Losing all those exemptions is one thing; add to the misery by eliminating the exemption of $4,050 x2, or $8,100. Again remember that the Republican tax plan tells the itemizer that instead of all itemized items and the exemptions, the couple gets $24,000. But, you say, $8,100 when added to $21,000 in deductions total over $29,000. Trading $29,000 in the example for $24,000 is not a good deal, even Trump wouldn’t take. So why should the itemizer who, for the most part, sees only taxable income increasing. No bargain at all for the itemizer.

Instead, little time remains to contact your senator since the math here is fairly straightforward. Just use this email to do so: www. (last name of senator).senate.gov, and then follow the prompts at each senator’s cite.

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