Dif­fer­ences in item­iz­ing, stan­dard de­duc­tions will do noth­ing to help most tax­pay­ers in Mary­land

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s tax bill low­ered taxes for ev­ery­one by low­er­ing tax rates, and greatly sim­pli­fied tax fil­ing over­all for most by elim­i­nat­ing some de­duc­tions and rais­ing the stan­dard de­duc­tion.

So, most peo­ple will not item­ize fed­eral tax de­duc­tions but take the new higher stan­dard de­duc­tion. For ex­am­ple, for a mar­ried cou­ple fil­ing jointly, the stan­dard fed­eral de­duc­tion for 2018 will be $24,000. If both are 65 or older, the stan­dard de­duc­tion will be $26,600.

Mary­land tax law does not al­low item­iz­ing de­duc­tions un­less you first item­ize fed­eral. Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) and the mi­nor­ity Repub­li­cans in the state leg­is­la­ture wanted to “hold Mary­lan­ders harm­less” by al­low­ing Mary­lan­ders to item­ize on 2018 Mary­land taxes even if they do not item­ize fed­eral, but since Mary­land’s leg­is­la­ture is con­trolled by lib­eral tax-and-spend Democrats, this was not changed. In­stead, they raised the Mary­land stan­dard de­duc­tion from $4,000 to $4,500 for a mar­ried cou­ple fil­ing jointly and crowed about how they low­ered your taxes. It’s just a smoke screen.

Those Mary­land tax fil­ers hav­ing item­ized de­duc­tions be­tween $4,500 and $24,000 ($26,600 if older than 65) will not be able to item­ize Mary­land taxes be­cause they will not item­ize fed­eral, and be re­quired to take the $4,500 stan­dard de­duc­tion.

They will pay sig­nif­i­cantly more in 2018 Mary­land taxes, hun­dreds more.

For ex­am­ple, if a joint fil­ing cou­ple has $17,000 in item­ized de­duc­tions (med­i­cal, char­ity, mort­gage, real es­tate taxes) and they are in the com­bined 8 per­cent bracket (state 5 per­cent, lo­cal 3 per­cent), they will pay $1,000 more when fil­ing 2018 taxes (8 per­cent of $12,500 above the $4,500 stan­dard de­duc­tion).

The cir­cum­stances for all tax­pay­ers are dif­fer­ent, so you can come up with your own ex­am­ple. But be­ware to those who can no longer item­ize.

Your 2018 Mary­land taxes are go­ing up sig­nif­i­cantly, thanks to the Demo­cratic-con­trolled Mary­land leg­is­la­ture.

Even for those who have never item­ized, in­creas­ing the stan­dard de­duc­tion by $500 for that cou­ple in the 8 per­cent bracket will save $40 a year — or less than 77 cents a week. Big deal.

Joe Wi­ble Sr., Leonard­town

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