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2019 Tax Updates

This is very exciting news for more people and it is just the beginning of the tax law changes.

Just how much your taxes will go down in 2019 depends on many factors, and your family situation will definitely impact how much (or how little) your refund will go up. Here is a list of the tax law changes affecting taxpayers with dependents in 2018.

1) Changes to the personal exemption and standard deduction

If you filed your taxes in 2018, you should have received a personal exemption of $4,050 for yourself and each of your dependents. Your personal exemption was subtracted from your taxable income in addition to your standard or itemized deductions.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has eliminated this exemption, but it has increased the standard deduction to $24,000 ($12,000 if you are a single filer). For families with few children, this could be good news. But if you have several children or your dependents are over age 17, this could mean that more of your income is taxable. Fortunately, the tax law changes did lower income tax rates for most Americans.

2) Restrictions to homeowner deductions

Homeowners especially will feel the effects of the new tax rules. If your family bought a home in 2018, you might be considering itemizing your deductions. In that case, be aware that under the new tax laws, the amount you can deduct for state and local tax is at $10,000. There are also limits to how much you can deduct for home mortgage interest and home equity loan interest.

3) Expanding the 529 savings plan

For many parents, saving money to send kids to college is a priority - but nowadays, even putting your kids through kindergarten can get expensive! If you have been saving money for higher education, you probably chose the most tax-advantaged plan available to you. If you went with a 529 savings account, there are new advantages under the TCJA. With the old tax laws, your 529 could only be used at eligible colleges and universities. Under the new TCJA, you can use your plan to cover up to $10,000 per year of qualifying expenses for any school and any grade from kindergarten through 12th as well. That includes public, private, and religious institutions.

4) Changes to the younger children tax

The tax applies to children under age 19 and college students under age 24 who have unearned income over $2,100. Unearned income can mean dividends, capital gains or interest on investments. Following the tax law changes, qualifying income will be taxed at the rate for trusts and estates on the return you file in 2019.

5) Changes to alimony deductions

This law won't take effect until Jan. 1, 2019, and it won't change at all for you if your divorce was finalized prior to Dec. 31, 2018. In other words, when you file your taxes for 2018, you will still be able to deduct alimony paid out. Likewise, if you are the recipient of alimony, you will need to include those payments in your taxable income for 2018.

If your divorce is finalized or you modify your alimony agreement on or after Jan. 1, 2019, then alimony payments cannot be deducted from the payer's taxable income for 2019. If you are the one receiving alimony, it should not be reported as part of your taxable income.

6) A $500 Credit for Dependents Age 17-24

If your child does not qualify for the CTC because they are over 17, they may still be eligible for a $500 credit under the new TCJA. The credit also applies for dependents who are elderly or disabled.

7) Changes to the Child Tax Credit

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 new child tax credit eventually phases out for married taxpayers filing jointly with an income of $400,000 ($200,000 for all other taxpayers).

For more information and to see how this will change your taxes from 2017 tax year to this year please contact JustCountant Inc and we will be right there to help you.

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