2019 Tax Reform Considerations
The month of March is eventful, bringing many fun filled annual events such as Spring Break, parades and March Madness. However it also marks everyone’s least favorite chore of the year: Filing your taxes.
Those that have used the same strategies to gather information and file their taxes for the past several years will have to adjust to the new tax codes implemented in the latest tax reform. These changes are the most significant to have come about in a generation, so do not underestimate their effect on your filing. Some exemptions have been eliminated, new rules have been added and tax cuts will not be applied the same as in the past. Overall, your personalized tax strategy needs to be re-learned in order to ensure you are maximizing your income potential. Take a fresh look at your tax information to be sure you are not missing out on a tax saving opportunity that was previously not applicable.
Here are a few of the biggest changes:
1. Estate Tax: The estate tax exemption has been doubled to $11,180,000 per individual - almost $22.4M per married couple - which should result in fewer taxable estates. Keep in mind this may change with the next elected government, and that the exemptions return to the original level in the year 2026.
2. Employee Business Expenses and Other Miscellaneous Deductions: Business write offs for W2 employees (as opposed to independent contractors or business owners) have been reduced to the point of being non-existent. The same applies for moving expenses, brokerage, IRA and investment advisory fees, new alimony and most casualty losses. If these items apply to you, your taxes could increase considerably. Establishing a personal business to expense applicable items could solve this new tax issue.
3. Exemptions and Itemized Deductions: The standard deduction has been doubled, changing whether or not to itemize things like charitable contributions, home interest, etc. Another important change to consider: there are no longer personal exemptions. Exemptions were used as an extra deduction based on the size of the taxpayer’s eligible family, and applicable whether you chose to itemize other deductions or just took the standard deduction. Depending on your situation, this can greatly reduce the amount of the expanded standard deduction. The limits for charitable deductions are slightly extended. The so-called SALT for State and Local Taxes deduction is reduced, with the sum of income, real estate, and sales taxes capped at $10,000. Business owners can continue to deduct these items if they qualify as business use.
4. Child Tax Credit: Most seem to know of the fact that this particular credit doubled in size, to $2,000 per child. However, many might not be informed that the income limits that determine whether those with qualifying children can claim the credit have increase significantly:
- Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er): Changed from $75,000 to $200,000
- Married, Filing Jointly: Changed from $110,000 to $400,000
- Married, Filing Separately: Changed from $55,000 to $200,000
Data Source: IRS
These changes will greatly increase the number of taxpayers who will be eligible for this tax credit. This may be the first year a parent with a six-figure salary has ever been able to apply for a child tax credit.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind:
If your refund for 2018 exceeds previous refunds, you may want to adjust your withholdings. The excess money held could have been in your paycheck throughout the year to be used for other purposes that could have benefitted you financially.
While evaluating your finances, use the opportunity to reconsider the amount you contribute towards tax-favored retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s and other long term retirement accounts. By increasing the amount you save you can reach financial goals and have the added incentive of saving on taxes. Check out the increased maximum contributions for retirement accounts in 2019.
The Impressive YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Pan American Bank & Trust had the privilege of assisting the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, a long standing organization in Chicago for over 140 years, which provides significant positive impact and outreach for local women in need. The YWCA Metropolitan Chicago held their 2nd Annual Business Savvy Saturday, titled “Taking Care of Business” event, on January 19th, 2019 at National Louis University’s Lisle Campus.
The purpose of the event was to offer support to early childcare educators, providers, centers and family childcare homes. Participants had the opportunity to gain valuable new information and inspiration to help maximize talent and resources from top training and business experts. To support the YWCA’s commitment to provide business support to their Spanish speaking early childcare professionals, Pan American Bank & Trust presented two breakout sessions in Spanish:
- Planning for Retirement - presented by PAB&T Director Maricela Guzman
- Account Management: The benefits of having a business account vs. a personal account - presented by Universal Banker Dalysha Medina & PAB&T Director Maricela Guzman
PAB&T EVP of Human Resources, Mary Ceas was also stationed at a table to answer general banking questions between sessions.
The YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is the first social service organization ever established in Chicago solely focused on women. It was originated by a group of 13 women in 1876 as a proactive measure to fulfill the needs of the increasing number of single women arriving in Chicago searching for employment. The purpose of the organization was to support these women in every way possible, especially regarding their health, employment and housing. The YWCA even went so far as to became advocates in social legislation that applied to women and child labor laws to support women’s efforts and treatment in the work force. Classes were also offered by the YWCA so women could learn various trades to become employable.
The YWCA mission has evolved into the following statement of inspiration: The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
The programs offered today have expanded greatly to include:
- Child Care Provider Training & Assistance
- Resources & Community Outreach
- Nutrition Education
- Business & Entrepreneurship Services
- Career Services
- Financial Management Services
- Technology Access & Training
- Young Parents Program
- Medical and Legal Advocacy
- Professional Training
- Rape Crisis Hotline
- Sexual Assault Education
- Training and Sexual Violence Counseling
- Women’s Health Exchange
The YWCA has grown to employ more than 120 employees who service 9 locations throughout the Chicagoland area and are trained to help more than 200,000 women, children and families every year through the use of the effective programs offered. As the website states: “... while our services are broad and varied, they are linked by a common thread, our dedication to promoting racial justice and personal empowerment across everything we do.”
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago has locations throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Each center offers programs tailored to address the special needs of the specific community they service. The 9 current locations of the YWCA in Chicagoland are:
YWCA Loop Center
1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1150
Chicago, Illinois 60602
YWCA RISE Center
820 W. Jackson Blvd., Ste. 550
Chicago, IL 60607
YWCA Cynthia B. Lafuente Center
2754 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
YWCA Julian Grace Innovation and Technology Institute
3517 W Arthington
Chicago, IL 60624
YWCA Laura Parks and Mildred Francis Center
6600 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
YWCA Englewood Satellite
641 W. 63rd, Lower Level #34-35
Chicago, Illinois 60621
YWCA Patterson and McDaniel Family Center
2055 West Army Trail Road, Suite 140
Addison, IL 60101
Project HELP DuPage
1815 W. Diehl Road, Suite 900
Naperville, IL 60563
YWCA South Suburban Center
320 West 202nd Street
Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411
Visit ywcachicago.org to learn more about the YWCA.