Your tax questions, answered

We ...

Posted: Dec 22, 2017 1:16 PM
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 1:16 PM

We asked CNN readers and viewers to share their questions about the massive tax plan that's about to become law, and received more than 2,000 questions.

Lots of people asked us how the new law would affect them. That's a more complicated question than it might seem. There are a million factors that determine what your tax bill will be (well, not really a million, but you get it). To figure that out, our tax calculator is a good place to start.

But to really understand what the bill means for you, you have to dig in. We'll be here to help: Our coverage of the tax overhaul will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

To start, here are answers to some initial questions about mortgages, student loans, when the new law kicks in and more.

When will the tax law go into effect?

First off: The soon-to-be tax law will not apply to your 2017 taxes -- the ones you have to file this coming April.

Most provisions of the new law affecting individuals and businesses go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. For instance, new tax brackets take effect on January 1 of next year, as will the new standard deductions.

But not all of them do. Changes to tax deductions for alimony payments, for instance, will kick in for divorces that happen after December 31, 2018. And the penalty for not having health insurance will be eliminated in 2019.

And some provisions affecting individuals will be very short-term. The bill expands the medical expense deduction just for 2018 and 2019, for example.

Related: New tax brackets for 2018

I'm confused as to what exactly expires in 2025.

Most of the corporate provisions are permanent. But most of the changes that affect individuals will expire after Dec. 31, 2025, or 8 years from now. Whether or not they're extended beyond then will be determined by a future Congress.

Related: What's in the GOP's final tax plan

How does this new bill change the AMT calculation?

It doesn't change the calculation -- it's still complicated under the new bill for individuals. So much for simplification! But it does raise the amount of income that would be exempt when you calculate taxable income under AMT rules. For singles the exemption level will increase to $70,300 -- up from $54,300. And for married couples filing jointly it increases to $109,400 -- up from $84,500.

Is my mortgage deduction the same as before?

Short answer: No.

Under the new law, if you take out a new mortgage you will only be allowed to deduct the interest on debt up to $750,000, down from $1 million today. Keep in mind that homeowners who already have a mortgage will not be affected by the change.

Related: Homeowners: Here's what's in the tax bill for you

Homeowners should also know that taxpayers may no longer be able to deduct all state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. Instead, the legislation allows individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes and state and local income or sales taxes.

You will still be able to exclude up to $500,000 (or $250,000 for single filers) from capital gains when you sell your primary home, as long as you've lived there for two of the past five years.

Is the $10,000 limit for state and property tax deductions really the same for a single filer as for joint filers?

Yes. Under the new legislation, regardless of whether you're single or married, you're not allowed to deduct more than $10,000 of property taxes and state and local income or sales taxes.

What will happen with the student loan interest deduction?

The student loan interest deduction remains the same, so taxpayers will still be allowed to claim a deduction of up to $2,500 for the interest they pay on student loans each year.

Related: Tax bill and your tuition: Here's what to expect

Is the tuition waiver still in place for graduate students?

Yes. The bill spares graduate students from having to pay income tax on tuition waivers -- something that was proposed in the House version of the bill.

Is the child care credit the same?

The GOP's tax overhaul bill doubles the current child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child under age 17. It also lets parents collect a refund of up to $1,400,-up from the current $1,000, if-the credit is larger than their federal income tax liability.

Related: Changes to the child tax credit: What it means for families

The credit will be available to high earners for the first time. It raises the income threshold under which filers may claim the full credit to $200,000 for single parents -- up from $75,000 -- and to $400,000 for married couples -- up from $110,000.

Related: 34 things you need to know about the incoming tax law

Please explain the pass-through provision as it pertains to partnerships and LLCs.

We'd love to, but even tax experts are still trying to figure out all the implications. This is one of the most complex changes in the new law.

Generally speaking, though, the tax burden on owners, partners and shareholders of S-corporations, LLCs and partnerships -- who pay their share of the business' taxes through their individual tax returns -- will be lowered thanks to a 20% deduction.

The 20% deduction will not be available to anyone in a service business -- unless their taxable income is less than $315,000 if married (or $157,500 if single).

Is a copy of the tax bill made open to the public?

Yes! You can read it here. If you have more questions, let us know.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
38° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 38°
Florence
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 39°
Fayetteville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 39°
Decatur
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Scottsboro
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 45°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 264199

Reported Deaths: 3831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson35310515
Mobile20626372
Madison14521153
Tuscaloosa13897173
Montgomery12844246
Shelby1127878
Baldwin9501138
Lee807167
Morgan740555
Etowah704870
Marshall695358
Calhoun6939126
Houston559140
DeKalb521843
Cullman490650
St. Clair466557
Limestone462446
Lauderdale452257
Elmore440070
Walker3914112
Talladega386157
Jackson373523
Colbert347948
Blount323146
Autauga294542
Franklin265534
Coffee260023
Dale247355
Dallas236832
Chilton235445
Covington234834
Russell23433
Escambia208832
Tallapoosa192692
Chambers189154
Clarke165422
Pike165215
Marion150236
Winston146325
Lawrence139936
Pickens129720
Geneva12929
Marengo127824
Bibb127038
Barbour121729
Butler121142
Cherokee108224
Randolph108022
Fayette102216
Hale102132
Clay95527
Washington94222
Henry9097
Monroe85311
Lowndes82930
Cleburne80914
Macon77522
Crenshaw73830
Lamar7348
Conecuh73215
Bullock71120
Perry7037
Wilcox65918
Sumter60122
Greene45818
Choctaw43620
Coosa3854
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 392608

Reported Deaths: 4876
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby50255694
Davidson45276434
Knox20582164
Rutherford19202173
Hamilton18414169
Williamson1223687
Sumner10700144
Out of TN919354
Wilson812788
Montgomery723887
Sullivan7128114
Washington6651118
Maury639675
Blount617665
Putnam616285
Bradley577538
Madison5671116
Unassigned537729
Sevier531738
Robertson410957
Tipton389939
Hamblen375263
Gibson344672
Greene338074
Dyer333552
Anderson327232
Coffee307943
Dickson307839
Carter300763
Bedford298134
Lawrence293738
McMinn284257
Obion279855
Cumberland274138
Roane257833
Warren253919
Jefferson249535
Loudon246921
Fayette238840
Monroe235046
Hardeman230938
Franklin228340
Weakley227836
Hawkins215936
Lauderdale214423
Wayne198611
Henderson198334
Macon193630
Trousdale192912
White190919
Rhea188836
Carroll187336
Hardin186529
Marshall186122
Lincoln178620
Cocke174430
Cheatham172017
Haywood169530
Campbell168524
Henry165322
Giles158951
Overton158237
Smith151820
Johnson147923
McNairy144434
Fentress127524
DeKalb126725
Hickman125819
Bledsoe12275
Marion121219
Lake12077
Crockett119329
Scott11778
Grainger109918
Chester106923
Claiborne99510
Decatur98313
Unicoi96928
Benton88816
Cannon8254
Lewis81916
Grundy81514
Morgan8097
Union7715
Humphreys7709
Jackson72811
Polk71515
Stewart63618
Houston60720
Sequatchie5965
Clay57819
Meigs53912
Perry51522
Moore4212
Pickett40714
Van Buren3893
Hancock2004

Community Events