The tax-cut bill rolled out on Thursday by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans would help high-income taxpayers and multinational corporations, but hurt mortgage borrowers and some other taxpayers and businesses.
Here is a list of winners and losers under the bill, based on early analyses by tax experts and industry groups.
* RICH AMERICANS
The 40 percent estate tax on inherited assets paid mainly by the richest Americans would be repealed over six years. In the interim, the exemption from the tax would be doubled, meaning assets worth up to $10 million could be left to heirs tax-free, up from the current exemption of $5 million, beginning after 2017. After 2023, in addition to the estate tax repeal, the generation-skipping gift tax would also be repealed.
The alternative minimum tax (AMT), paid mostly by high-income earners, would also be repealed. Created as a backstop to ensure that wealthy people pay at least some tax, even when they take advantage of other loopholes, the AMT was written in such a way that it had begun in recent years to affect upper middle-income taxpayers. That would end.
The Republican bill would consolidate the number of tax brackets and realign the income thresholds for each.
The top tax bracket of 39.6 percent was retained in the bill, but the way it is applied would represent a big tax cut for married, high-income earners filing joint returns.
Under existing law, the top tax rate applies to income above $470,700 for married couples filing jointly and above $418,400 for single taxpayers. Under the bill, it would apply only to income exceeding $1 million for married couples, and $500,000 for singles, according to the Republican bill summary.
* LARGE, MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS
The top corporate income tax would be permanently slashed to 20 percent from 35 percent.
The bill would end U.S. corporate income taxation of the foreign profits of U.S.-based multinationals brought into the United States. That would take effect after 2017.
Multinationals would get a tax break on about $2.6 trillion in profits they now have stashed offshore on a tax-exempt basis. The provision would require those profits to be brought into the United States, or repatriated, but not at the full 35 percent corporate tax rate that would normally be due.
Instead, those profits would be taxed at 12 percent for cash assets and 5 percent for illiquid assets. Repatriation tax due under the proposal would be payable over eight years.
* “PASS-THROUGH” BUSINESS OWNERS
The bill would cut the income tax rate for “pass-through” business owners, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships, to 25 percent from as high as 39.6 percent. Small mom-and-pop businesses would gain.
* U.S. TREASURY
The bill would reduce federal tax revenues by roughly $1.5 trillion over 10 years, adding to the existing national debt and the annual federal budget deficit.
Not long ago, most Republicans stood firmly against increasing the deficit and the debt, but analysts say their tax plan would greatly expand both.
Washington was expected to collect $3.3 trillion in taxes in 2017, but spend $4 trillion, leaving a deficit of $700 billion. Previous deficits have piled up a national debt of $20 trillion.
Independent analysts have said that the tax bill would give a small boost to the economy at first but soon be overwhelmed by the rising federal debt burden.
* HOME MORTGAGE BORROWERS
The bill would preserve the home mortgage interest deduction for existing home loans. But the debt value cap on deductible interest for new mortgages would be cut in half to $500,000, hitting borrowers in cities and states with high home-ownership costs.
The plan also would roughly double the standard deduction, a separate tax return line that determines eligibility for itemizing. Doubling that would mean fewer Americans itemizing and fewer deducting mortgage interest.
The National Association of Home Builders has declared its opposition to the Republican plan and proposed creating a non-itemized tax credit for mortgage interest.
The bill would also cap the deduction for state and local property taxes at $10,000, while repealing the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes. That would also hurt high-cost states, such as New York, New Jersey and California.
* DEBT-DEPENDENT BUSINESSES
In a move that would hit businesses with little access to equity capital and dependent on debt financing, the Republican bill would impose a new cap on businesses’ deductions for interest costs at up to 30 percent of taxable income.
Exempt from that rule would be businesses with average gross receipts of $25 million or less, as well as certain public utilities and “real property trades.”
Businesses have formed a group, called the BUILD Coalition, to oppose the provision. Members include lobbying groups for private equity firms, farmers, mortgage bankers, real estate investment trusts, casinos and equipment leasing groups.
(Compliled by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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