Breakdown of the Tax Bracket changes from the GOP House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

[EDIT FROM MIKE 2/20/2018: This article was an analysis of the initial proposal for a tax reform plan that passed in late 2017. Some or all of this information may be outdated at the time of reading, but remains here for historical purposes.]

Quick version: the tax reform plan that purports to cut taxes for the middle class may actually cause many middle class taxpayers to see an increase in taxable income and possibly even up to a 10% tax rate jump.

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This morning the House GOP announced its long-awaited tax reform plan – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It includes major tax code changes, including a complete overhaul of the tax brackets. The plan would create four tax ranges, down from the current seven brackets.

In addition, the TCJA would double the standard deduction, removing about $6,000 of taxable income from individuals and about $11,500 from married couples filing jointly.

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What’s Happening to the Affordable Care Act?

Confusion. Frustration. Fear. We’re all feeling something towards the uncertainty surrounding health insurance right now. Let me try to relieve some of it by explaining what has happened and how we should respond.


WHAT WE KNOW

With the Affordable Care Act currently in a state of flux, we must ground ourselves with facts. Here’s what we know for sure right now:

  1. The ACA is a law passed by Congress. Only Congress has the power to change a law.
  1. There were many regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) over the past five years to support portions of the ACA law (ex. specifying the Essential Health Benefits that all plans must cover). These rules can change, but only through a fairly long and formal rulemaking process.
  1. A small army of legal organizations are ready to file lawsuits to stop any action by the President, Congress, or any other official that oversteps their legal authority. Government officials and health insurers cannot ignore current, active law.
  1. President Trump issued an executive order last weekend (Jan 21st) ordering all federal agencies to “take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the [Affordable Care] Act.” While there is little actual functional value to the executive order (see #1 and #2 above), it reinforces the President’s stance against the ACA and asks Executive Branch employees to work towards limited the law’s effect. It doesn’t actually do anything on its own. At most, the IRS director could use it as reason to not levy the tax penalty on uninsured individuals.

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Normal Speak: the New Overtime Rules

****EDIT: The new overtime regulations were placed on hold by a federal court. It is likely that these rules will not enter effect as they are currently written.**** 

INSTANT VERSION: Starting December 1, 2016, many white collar workers earning a salary between $23,660 to $47,476 will become eligible for overtime pay.

To clarify – as a matter of law, teachers, lawyers, and doctors are still excluded from overtime regulations, regardless of salary
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Today the Department of Labor announced new rules affecting overtime pay.

First, to get a sense of what this is all about, I highly recommend checking out a great video from the DoL. It provides a quick primer on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirement and explains the reason for these new rules. Go watch it, and then come back and read the rest of this article. It’s okay, I’ll wait!

Welcome back! Let’s talk about the final rules and what they mean.

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