Thursday, May 30, 2019
Everyone admits that there needs to be “technical corrections” made to the hastily written GOP Tax Act. In addition to those being discussed, here are some changes I believe should be enacted -
+ If Congress believes the deduction for state and local taxes should be limited to $10,000, the maximum amount allowed for a married couple filing a joint return, currently also $10,000, should be increased to $20,000. Two single individuals living together can claim $10,000 each for a total of $20,000. Why should a married couple be penalized by limiting the deduction to $10,000 on a joint return?
+ The Child Tax Credit of $2,000 per child, increased from the previous $1,000 to make up for the loss of the personal exemption, is only allowed for dependent children under age 17. A dependent child who turns age 17 during the year gets the lower $500 “Other Dependent Credit”. It is my assumption that the Child Tax Credit was intended to cover dependent children through high school. The age threshold for the higher Child Tax Credit should be changed from under age 17 to under age 18 or even under age 19.
+ The American Opportunity Credit was intended to provide tax relief for the 4 years of college leading to an undergraduate degree. Currently the credit is only available for 4 tax years. But since a college year begins in the fall of one year and ends in the spring of another year a 4-year degree program actually takes place within 5 calendar years. Qualified calendar-year taxpayers, which almost everyone is, should be allowed to claim the American Opportunity Credit for 5 tax years.
As an aside - I do not believe the American Opportunity Credit, or any credit or deduction that is in reality a distribution of social welfare or other government benefits, belongs in the US Tax Code. But as long as it is there it should be done properly to accomplish its intended purpose. And I oppose the $10,000 SALT limitation, but if it is there it should be applied fairly.
So, what do you think?