This is not tax advise and I am not your tax advisor.
While we await the full details of the Senate bill, moments ago the House Ways and Means Committee released the Amended House GOP tax bill, as well as its summary.
Here are the key highlights from the Amendment (link), first in principle:
Amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1 Offered by Mr. Brady of Texas The amendment makes improvements to the amendment in the nature of a substitute relating to the maximum rate on business income of individuals, preserves the adoption tax credit, improves the program integrity of the Child Tax Credit, improves the consolidation of education savings rules, preserves the above-the-line deduction for moving expenses of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty, preserves the current law effective tax rates on C corporation dividends subject to the dividends received deduction, improves the bill’s interest expense rules with respect to accrued interest on floor plan financing indebtedness, modifies the treatment of S corporation conversions into C corporations, modifies the tax treatment of research and experimentation expenditures, modifies the treatment of expenses in contingent fee cases, modifies the computation of life insurance tax reserves, modifies the treatment of qualified equity grants, preserves the current law treatment of nonqualified deferred compensation, modifies the transition rules on the treatment of deferred foreign income, improves the excise tax on investment income of private colleges and universities, and modifies rules with respect to political statements made by certain tax-exempt entities.
And the details, from the summary (link):
- Maximum rate on business income of individuals (reduced rate for small businesses with net active business income)
The amendment provides a 9-percent tax rate, in lieu of the ordinary 12-percent tax rate, for the first $75,000 in net business taxable income of an active owner or shareholder earning less than $150,000 in taxable income through a pass-through business. As taxable income exceeds $150,000, the benefit of the 9-percent rate relative to the 12-percent rate is reduced, and it is fully phased out at $225,000. Businesses of all types are eligible for the preferential 9-percent rate, and such rate applies to all business income up to the $75,000 level. The 9-percent rate is phased in over five taxable years, such that the rate for 2018 and 2019 is 11 percent, the rate for 2020 and 2021 is 10 percent, and the rate for 2022 and thereafter is 9 percent. For unmarried individuals, the $75,000 and $150,000 amounts are $37,500 and $75,000, and for heads of household, those amounts are $56,250 and $112,500.
- Maximum rate on business income of individuals (eliminate provisions related to Self-Employment Contributions Act)
The amendment preserves the current-law rules on the application of payroll taxes to amounts received through a pass-through entity.
- Repeal of nonrefundable credits
The amendment preserves the current law non-refundable credit for qualified adoption expenses.
- Refundable credit program integrity
The amendment requires a taxpayer to provide an SSN for the child in order to claim the entire amount of the enhanced child tax credit.
- Rollovers between qualified tuition programs and qualified able programs
The amendment would allow rollovers from section 529 plans to ABLE programs.
- Repeal of exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursement
The amendment preserves the current law tax treatment for moving expenses in the case of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty who moves pursuant to a military order.
- Reduction in corporate tax rate
The amendment lowers the 80-percent dividends received deduction to 65 percent and the 70- percent dividends received deduction to 50 percent, preserving the current law effective tax rates on income from such dividends.
The amendment provides an exclusion from the limitation on deductibility of net business interest for taxpayers that paid or accrued interest on “floor plan financing indebtedness.” Full expensing would no longer be allowed for any trade or business that has floor plan financing indebtedness.
- Modify treatment of S corporation conversions into C corporations
The amendment provides that distributions from an eligible terminated S corporation would be treated as paid from its accumulated adjustments account and from its earnings and profits on a pro-rata basis. The amendment provides that any section 481(a) adjustment would be taken into account ratably over a 6-year period. For this purpose, an eligible terminated S corporation means any C corporation which (i) was an S corporation on the date before the enactment date, (ii) revoked its S corporation election during the 2-year period beginning on the enactment date, and (iii) had the same owners on the enactment date and on the revocation date.
- Amortization of Research and Experimentation Expenditures
The amendment provides that certain research or experimental expenditures are required to be capitalized and amortized over a 5-year period (15 years in the case of expenditures attributable to research conducted outside the United States). The amendment provides that this rule applies to research or experimental expenditures paid or incurred during taxable years beginning after 2023.
- Uniform treatment of expenses in contingent fee cases
The amendment disallows an immediate deduction for litigation costs advanced by an attorney to a client in contingent-fee litigation until the contingency is resolved, thus creating parity throughout the United States as to when, if ever, such expenses are deductible in such litigation. Under current law, certain attorneys within the Ninth Circuit who work on a contingency basis can immediately deduct expenses that ordinarily would be considered fees paid on behalf of clients, in the form of loans to those clients, and therefore not deductible when paid or incurred. This provision creates parity on this issue throughout the United States by essentially repealing the Ninth Circuit case, Boccardo v. Commissioner, 56 F.3d 1016 (9th Cir. 1995), which created a circuit split on this issue.
- Surtax on life insurance company taxable income
The amendment generally preserves current law tax treatment of insurance company deferred acquisition costs, life insurance company reserves, and pro-ration, and imposes an 8% surtax on life insurance income. This provision is intended as a placeholder.
- Nonqualified deferred compensation
The amendment strikes Section 3801 so that the current-law tax treatment of nonqualified deferred compensation is preserved.
- Modification of treatment of qualified equity grants
The amendment clarifies that restricted stock units (RSU) are not eligible for section 83(b) elections. Other than new section 83(i), section 83 does not apply to RSUs.
- Treatment of deferred foreign income upon transition to participation exemption system of taxation
The amendment provides for effective tax rates on deemed repatriated earnings of 7% on earnings held in illiquid assets and 14% on earnings held in liquid assets.
- Excise tax on certain payments from domestic corporations to related
foreign corporations; election to treat such payments as effectively connected income. The amendment modifies the bill’s international base erosion rules in two respects. First, the provision eliminates the mark-up on deemed expenses. Second, the amendment expands the foreign tax credit to apply to 80% of foreign taxes and refines the measurement of foreign taxes paid by reference to section 906 of current law rather than a formula based on financial accounting information.
- Excise taxed based on investment income of private colleges and universities
The amendment ensures that endowment assets of a private university that are formally held by organizations related to the university, and not merely those that are directly held by the university, are subject to the 1.4-percent excise tax on net investment income.
With Republicans scrambling to find every possible dollar to pay for Trump’s “massive” tax reform package, on Wednesday morning a new analysis by the CBO (congressional budget office) calculated that repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate – an idea that had been floated previously by Trump – would save $338 billion over 10 years. CBO previously estimated repeal would save $416b over 10 years due to reduced use of Obamacare subsidies, demonstrating once again how “fluid” government forecasts are.
The report was released as the Senate prepares to unveil its own version of the Tax reform bill amid growing GOP dissent, and comes as some Republicans are pushing for repealing the mandate within tax reform, as a way to help pay for tax cuts. Still, as The Hill reports, that idea has met resistance from some Republican leaders who do not want to mix up health care and taxes. Previously the CBO had come under fire on Tuesday from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who slammed the agency after Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told The Hill that he had been informed that the CBO was changing its analysis of the mandate to find significantly less savings.
Just as notable was the CBO’s announcement that it was changing the way it analyzes the mandate, which Republicans suspect would show less government savings and fewer people becoming uninsured as a results.
“The agencies are in the process of revising their methods to estimate the repeal of the individual mandate,” he said. “However, because that work is not complete and significant changes to the individual mandate are now being considered as part of the budget reconciliation process, the agencies are publishing this update without incorporating major changes to their analytical methods.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has been one of the most vocal advocates of including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill, has touted the savings that would come as a result. His team said it is confident that the scoring will include similar numbers to previous reports. “We’re confident the CBO estimate will still show a substantial — north of $300 billion — savings for tax reform,” Caroline Tabler, spokeswoman for Cotton, told the Washington Examiner in an email.
CBO has been criticized for years for its analyses on the effects of the individual mandate. Republicans have charged that the mandate isn’t as effective as CBO concludes and have said they want to see it repealed. Some Obamacare supporters also have said it should be stronger by becoming more expensive or should be more heavily enforced.
While the CBO calculation is a boost to Republicans who want to repeal the mandate in tax reform, because it means there are still significant savings to be had from repealing the mandate, mandate repeal still faces long odds. Repealing the mandate – a broadly unpopular decision in many states – could also destabilize health insurance markets by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.
Earlier in the day, the CBO said that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would increase deficits over the next decade by $1.4 trillion, which is good enough to slip under the $1.5 trillion limit required for reconciliation. The CBO did however add that the additional debt service would boost the 10-year increase in deficits to $1.7 trillion.
As discussed last Friday, several notable surprises in the proposed GOP tax bill involved real estate, and would have an explicit – and adverse – impact on not only proprietors’ tax bills, but also on future real estate values if the republican tax bill is passed. And, as the following analysis by Barclays suggests, they may have a secondary purpose: to slam real estate values in counties that by and large voted for Hillary Clinton.
Going back to Friday, the biggest surprise was that mortgage interest would only be deductible on mortgage balances up to $500K for new home purchases, down from the current $1mn threshold. Existing mortgages would be grandfathered, such that borrowers with existing loans would still be allowed to deduct interest on the first $1mn of their mortgage balances. In addition, only the first $10K of local and state property taxes would be allowed to be deducted from income. Finally, married couples seeking a tax exemption on the first $500K of capital gains upon a sale of their primary residence will need to have lived in their home for five of the past eight years, versus two out of the past five years under current rules. This capital gains tax exemption would also be gradually phased out for households that have more than $500K of income a year.
As might be expected, the above provisions caused an uproar in the realtor and home building industries, as Barclays Dennis Lee points out. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a statement commenting that “the bill represents a tax increase on middle-class homeowners”, with the NAR President stating that “[t]he nation’s 1.3 million Realtors cannot support a bill that takes home ownership off the table for millions of middle-class families”. Meanwhile, the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) stated that “[t]he House Republican tax reform plan abandons middle-class taxpayers in favor of high-income Americans and wealthy corporations”. Given the strong resistance from these two powerful housing groups, there may be changes made to these provisions in the final version of the bill.
What is more interesting, however, is a detailed analysis looking at who would be most affected by Trump’s real estate tax changes. Here, an interest pattern emerges, courtesy of Barclays.
According to CoreLogic, the median home price in the US is around $224K while the average property tax paid by homeowners in the country is around $3,300. This suggests that only a minority of homeowners are likely to be affected by the proposed mortgage interest and property tax deduction caps. Indeed, according to preliminary analysis by the NAHB, only about 7mn homes will be affected by the $500K mortgage interest deduction, and since these homeowners will receive the grandfathering benefit, they will not experience any immediate increase in taxes as a result of the mortgage interest deduction cap.
Meanwhile, approximately 3.7mn homeowners pay more than $10K in property taxes according to the NAHB. These homeowners will experience an immediate increase in taxes from the property tax deduction cap; however, to put this number in perspective, the US Census estimates that there are approximately 76mn owner-occupied homes in the country, indicating that fewer than 5% of households may experience a rise in taxes as a result of the property tax cap.
Who Is Most Impacted?
As expected, the homeowners who will be most negatively affected by the proposed caps primarily reside along the coasts, particularly in California. Using estimated median home prices provided by the NAR, Barclays found that of the 20 counties in the country with the highest median home prices, eight were located in California (Figure 3). Perhaps not surprisingly, a majority of voters in all 20 counties voted for Clinton in last year’s presidential election. In fact, Clinton won the vote in the top 45 counties in the country with the highest median home prices. Suddenly the method behind Trump’s madness becomes readily apparent…
And while we now know who will be largely impacted, there is a broader implication: not only will these pro-Clinton counties pay more in taxes, it is there that real estate values will tumbles the most. Hers’ Barclays:
We can also use the above median home prices to estimate the potential increase in taxes from the deduction caps in the first 12 months for would-be homeowners looking to purchase a home in these counties. Using the simplifying assumption that all borrowers purchase their homes at the median home price in each county and take out an 80% LTV, 30y mortgage at a 4% rate, we can come up with estimates for the monthly P&I payment for each of these areas (Figure 4). We can also estimate the average property tax burden in these counties using average state-level property tax rates.
As Dennis Lee calculates, “assuming that all of these homeowners are taxed at a marginal rate of 39.6%, we find that the increase in tax burden during the first 12 months of homeownership driven solely by the mortgage interest and property tax deduction caps varies from $0 for the county with the 20th highest median home price (San Miguel County, Colorado) to approximately $7,200 for the highest-priced county (San Francisco County, California).” Barclays’ conclusion: these counties – all of which are largely pro-Clinton – would need a 0-11% decline in their median home prices to keep the after-tax monthly mortgage and property tax payments the same for would-be buyers.
And that’s how Trump is about to punish the “bi-coastals” for voting against him: by sending their real estate values tumbling as much as 11%, while serving them with a higher tax bill to boot.
The MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) sent a letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means regarding its recently released tax reform proposal. Given the tax proposal, the MBA reports (using its analysis of 2016 HMDA data) that only 7% of first lien home purchase mortgage balances originated in the US in 2016 exceeded $500,000. ($500,000 is the proposed maximum balance on which mortgage interest would be deductible in the House Republican proposal.) The Senate’s version, on the other hand, is expected to keep the $1 million mortgage cap unchanged.