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On The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA)

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA)

By Rick Kahler CFP®

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) has generated a lot of media hype, much of which is coming from the extreme wings of both political parties and much of which is simply not true.

Here is some perspective

When he signed the bill President Trump called it “the largest tax cuts in our history”. This is not so.

According to a November 2, 2017, article in Reuters, the largest personal tax cuts in U.S. history came from Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, both Republicans. In 1922, the top tax rate was 73 percent. By 1925, it was only 25 percent.

Under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, both Democrats, the tax cuts of 1964 and 1965 cut the top rate from 91 percent to 70 percent. The 1986 Reagan cuts lowered the top rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

In comparison, the Trump cuts reduced the top rate from 39.6% to 37%, a miniscule 6.6% drop.

The new tax rules do mean some significant changes 

The good news is that the standard deduction will nearly double and the maximum child tax credit will increase from $1000 to $2000. But almost nowhere do you read about the bad news: the current personal exemptions will go away.

For 2017, an individual can take the $6350 standard deduction plus the $4050 personal exemption for a total of $10,400 (plus $4050 for each dependent). For 2018, this is $12,000, only $1,600 more in deductions. This means a median tax savings of about $192 per person, and only if you don’t itemize.

The even worse news

Home office expenses, moving expenses to relocate for a new job, casualty and gambling losses, unreimbursed business expenses, tax preparation software, tax preparation fees, and investment advisory fees will no longer be deductible on Schedule A.

This tax act has been labeled as terrible for the middle class and wonderful for the uber-rich. I don’t see that either claim is true. It appears to me that the winners (not “big winners”) are the middle class. Yes, the uber-rich also get a small 6.6% reduction—hardly a big deal compared to the cuts of 23% to 73% under Kennedy, Reagan, Harding, and Coolidge.

Corporate taxes

The real impact of the TCJA is its reductions on corporate taxes, not personal taxes. Taxes on C-corporations are cut from 34% to 21% (a 38% reduction). What isn’t reported is that reducing America’s corporate income tax has had bipartisan support for several years. The current US rate of 34% is the highest in developed countries, when the average global corporate tax rate is 22.6%.

Those who attack “big corporations that will just pass tax savings on to investors” tend to forget that 43% of Americans invest in these same corporations, including those with 401(k), IRA, or 403(b) retirement plans.

You also probably haven’t read that the new law actually raises taxes on corporations with taxable incomes of under $50,000, from 15% to 21% (a 38% increase). These corporations are those most generally owned by the Main Street business person.

The TCJA helps tax payers that are sole proprietors, partners and shareholders of S-corporations, LLCs and partnerships, which pass profits or losses through to be taxed in the taxpayer’s personal tax brackets. The new law allows most of these pass-through entities to exclude 20% of their profit from taxes. However, if you are in the profession of law, accounting, medicine, or financial planning, or are a professional musician or athlete, the exclusion probably doesn’t apply.

Assessment-Irony

Finally, for the 51% of Americans who pay taxes, the TCJA adds an unbelievable amount of complexity to an already complex tax code.

Conclusion

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

By Robert Whirley CPA

Congress has enacted the biggest tax reform law in thirty years, one that will make fundamental changes in the way you, your family and your business calculate your federal income tax bill, and the amount of federal tax you will pay. Since most of the changes will go into effect next year, there’s still a narrow window of time before year-end to soften or avoid the impact of crackdowns and to best position yourself for the tax breaks that may be heading your way.

Attached you will find summaries of the various provisions. We have tried to make sure these are final given the fact that the law changed three times in 24 hours.

Here’s a quick rundown of last-minute moves you should think about making

Lower tax rates coming. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce tax rates for many taxpayers, effective for the 2018 tax year. Additionally, many businesses, including those operated as pass-through, such as partnerships, may see their tax bills cut.

The general plan of action to take advantage of lower tax rates next year is to defer income into next year. Some possibilities follow:

• . . . If you are about to convert a regular IRA to a Roth IRA, postpone your move until next year. That way you’ll defer income from the conversion until next year and have it taxed at lower rates.

• . . . Earlier this year, you may have already converted a regular IRA to a Roth IRA but now you question the wisdom of that move, as the tax on the conversion will be subject to a lower tax rate next year. You can unwind the conversion to the Roth IRA by doing a recharacterization—making a trustee-to-trustee transfer from the Roth to a regular IRA. This way, the original conversion to a Roth IRA will be cancelled out. But you must complete the recharacterization before year-end. Starting next year, you won’t be able to use a recharacterization to unwind a regular-IRA-to-Roth-IRA conversion.

• . . . If you run a business that renders services and operates on the cash basis, the income you earn isn’t taxed until your clients or patients pay. So if you hold off on billings until next year—or until so late in the year that no payment will likely be received this year—you will likely succeed in deferring income until next year.

• . . . If your business is on the accrual basis, deferral of income till next year is difficult but not impossible. For example, you might, with due regard to business considerations, be able to postpone completion of a last-minute job until 2018, or defer deliveries of merchandise until next year (if doing so won’t upset your customers). Taking one or more of these steps would postpone your right to payment, and the income from the job or the merchandise, until next year. Keep in mind that the rules in this area are complex and may require a tax professional’s input.

• . . . The reduction or cancellation of debt generally results in taxable income to the debtor. So if you are planning to make a deal with creditors involving debt reduction, consider postponing action until January to defer any debt cancellation income into 2018.

Disappearing or reduced deductions, larger standard deduction. Beginning next year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends or reduces many popular tax deductions in exchange for a larger standard deduction.

Here’s what you can do about this right now:

• Individuals (as opposed to businesses) will only be able to claim an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 ($5,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return) for the total of (1) state and local property taxes; and (2) state and local income taxes. To avoid this limitation, pay the last installment of estimated state and local taxes for 2017 no later than Dec. 31, 2017, rather than on the 2018 due date. But don’t prepay in 2017 a state income tax bill that will be imposed next year – Congress says such a prepayment won’t be deductible in 2017. However, Congress only forbade prepayments for state income taxes, not property taxes, so a prepayment on or before Dec. 31, 2017, of a 2018 property tax installment is apparently OK.

• The itemized deduction for charitable contributions won’t be chopped. But because most other itemized deductions will be eliminated in exchange for a larger standard deduction (e.g., $24,000 for joint filers), charitable contributions after 2017 may not yield a tax benefit for many because they won’t be able to itemize deductions. If you think you will fall in this category, consider accelerating some charitable giving into 2017.

• The new law temporarily boosts itemized deductions for medical expenses. For 2017 and 2018 these expenses can be claimed as itemized deductions to the extent they exceed a floor equal to 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Before the new law, the floor was 10% of AGI, except for 2017 it was 7.5% of AGI for age-65-or-older taxpayers. But keep in mind that next year many individuals will have to claim the standard deduction because many itemized deductions have been eliminated. If you won’t be able to itemize deductions after this year, but will be able to do so this year, consider accelerating “discretionary” medical expenses into this year. For example, before the end of the year, get new glasses or contacts, or see if you can squeeze in expensive dental work such as an implant.

IRS

Other year-end strategies

Here are some other last minute moves that can save tax dollars in view of the new tax law:

• The new law substantially increases the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount, beginning next year. There may be steps you can take now to take advantage of that increase. For example, the exercise of an incentive stock option (ISO) can result in AMT complications. So, if you hold any ISOs, it may be wise to postpone exercising them until next year. And, for various deductions, e.g., depreciation and the investment interest expense deduction, the deduction will be curtailed if you are subject to the AMT. If the higher 2018 AMT exemption means you won’t be subject to the 2018 AMT, it may be worthwhile, via tax elections or postponed transactions, to push such deductions into 2018.

• Like-kind exchanges are a popular way to avoid current tax on the appreciation of an asset, but after Dec. 31, 2017, such swaps will be possible only if they involve real estate that isn’t held primarily for sale. So if you are considering a like-kind swap of other types of property, do so before year-end. The new law says the old, far more liberal like-kind exchange rules will continue apply to exchanges of personal property if you either dispose of the relinquished property or acquire the replacement property on or before Dec. 31, 2017.

• For decades, businesses have been able to deduct 50% of the cost of entertainment directly related to or associated with the active conduct of a business. For example, if you take a client to a nightclub after a business meeting, you can deduct 50% of the cost if strict substantiation requirements are met. But under the new law, for amounts paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2017, there’s no deduction for such expenses. So if you’ve been thinking of entertaining clients and business associates, do so before year-end.

• Under current rules, alimony payments generally are an above-the line deduction for the payor and included in the income of the payee. Under the new law, alimony payments aren’t deductible by the payor or includible in the income of the payee, generally effective for any divorce decree or separation agreement executed after 2017. So if you’re in the middle of a divorce or separation agreement, and you’ll wind up on the paying end, it would be worth your while to wrap things up before year end. On the other hand, if you’ll wind up on the receiving end, it would be worth your while to wrap things up next year.

• The new law suspends the deduction for moving expenses after 2017 (except for certain members of the Armed Forces), and also suspends the tax-free reimbursement of employment-related moving expenses. So if you’re in the midst of a job-related move, try to incur your deductible moving expenses before year-end, or if the move is connected with a new job and you’re getting reimbursed by your new employer, press for a reimbursement to be made to you before year-end.

• Under current law, various employee business expenses, e.g., employee home office expenses, are deductible as itemized deductions if those expenses plus certain other expenses exceed 2% of adjusted gross income. The new law suspends the deduction for employee business expenses paid after 2017. So, we should determine whether paying additional employee business expenses in 2017, that you would otherwise pay in 2018, would provide you with an additional 2017 tax benefit.

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Also, now would be a good time to talk to your employer about changing your compensation arrangement—for example, your employer reimbursing you for the types of employee business expenses that you have been paying yourself up to now, and lowering your salary by an amount that approximates those expenses. In most cases, such reimbursements would not be subject to tax.

Assessment

Please keep in mind that I’ve described only some of the year-end moves that should be considered in light of the new tax law.

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The Home Office Tax Deduction Explained

What it is – How it works?

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™
http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

A taxpayer’s business use of his or her home may give rise to a deduction for the business portion of expenses related to operating the home.

The basic requirement:

1. There must be a specific room or area that is set aside for and used exclusively on a regular basis as:
a. The principal place of any business, or
b. A place where the taxpayer meets with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of their trade or business, or
c. A separate structure that is used in the taxpayer’s trade or business and is not attached to their house or residence.

2. An employee can take a home office deduction if he or she meets the regular and exclusive use test and the use is for the convenience of the employer.

Deductions

Deductible expenses include business portions of mortgage interest, property taxes, depreciation, repairs and maintenance to the overall home that help the business use area, janitorial services or maid, utilities, insurance as well as other expenses directly related to the operating the remainder of the home.

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Conclusion

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***

Why Medical Claims are Denied?

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By Eric Duchinsky

[Advertisement: BHM Healthcare Solutions, Inc.]

One Doctor’s POV

Hi Ann,

Dr. Nicholas Fogelson wrote a perspective article for KevinMD.com. He wrote about his experience as a peer reviewer for an independent review organization network. The observations hit to the heart of why third-party peer review (for payers) and physician advisor services (for providers) are vital for building efficiencies.

The categories

Here are the main categories Dr. Fogelson saw while reviewing:

  • Full-spectrum medicine
  • Poor documentation
  • Industry acceptance of something that cannot be supported in the literature or not evidence-based.

Assessment

The takeaway lessons, from Dr. Fogelson’s observations, point to two very fixable inefficiencies: better documentation and following evidence-based research for care.

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Click HERE for the follow-up blog on more reasons claims are denied. 

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Conclusion

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A Social Security Taxation Synopsis

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By Vanguard Services

Infographic on Social Security Taxation

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social_security_infographic_112016

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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The New Social Security Wage Base for 2017

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Social Security wage base increases to $127,200 for 2017

[By Robert Whirley CPA & Associates, LLC + ProActive Advisory]

The Social Security Administration has announced that the wage base for computing the Social Security tax (OASDI) in 2017 will increase to $127,200.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) imposes two taxes on employers, employees, and self-employed workers—one for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI; commonly known as the Social Security tax), and the other for Hospital Insurance (HI; commonly known as the Medicare tax).

For 2017, the FICA tax rate for employers is 7.65%—6.2% for OASDI and 1.45% for HI.

For 2017, an employee will pay:

  1. 6.2% Social Security tax on the first $127,200 of wages (maximum tax is $7,886.40 [6.2% of $127,200]), plus
  2. 1.45% Medicare tax on the first $200,000 of wages ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return), plus
  3. 2.35% Medicare tax (regular 1.45% Medicare tax + 0.9% additional Medicare tax) on all wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return). (Code Sec. 3101(b)(2))

For 2017, the self-employment tax imposed on self-employed people is:

  • 12.4% OASDI on the first $127,200 of self-employment income, for a maximum tax of $15,772.80 (12.40% of $127,200); plus
  • 2.90% Medicare tax on the first $200,000 of self-employment income ($250,000 of combined self-employment income on a joint return, $125,000 on a separate return), (Code Sec. 1401(a), Code Sec. 1401(b)), plus
  • 3.8% (2.90% regular Medicare tax + 0.9% additional Medicare tax) on all self-employment income in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 of combined self-employment income on a joint return, $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return). (Code Sec. 1401(b)(2))
  • There is a maximum amount of compensation subject to the OASDI tax, but no maximum for HI.

IRS

Conclusion

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What is Hospital WACC?

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By Calvin Weise CPA and Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

The Weighted Average Cost of Capital 

It is critical to understand and to measure the total cost of capital. Lack of understanding and appreciation of the total cost of capital is widespread, particularly among not-for-profit hospital executives. The capital structure includes long-term debt and equity; total capital is the sum of these two. Each of these components has cost associated with it. For the long-term debt portion, this cost is explicit: it is the interest rate plus associated costs of placement and servicing.

Equity portion

For the equity portion, the cost is not explicit and is widely misunderstood. In many cases, hospital capital structures include significant amounts of equity that has accumulated over many years of favorable operations. Too many executives wrongly attribute zero cost to the equity portion of their capital structure. Although it is correct that generally accepted accounting principles continue to assign a zero cost to equity, there is opportunity cost associated with equity that needs to be considered. This cost is the opportunity available to utilize that capital in alternative ways.

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student-849825_640

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In general, the cost attributed to equity is the return expected by the equity markets on hospital equity. This can be observed by evaluating the equity prices of hospital companies whose equity is traded on public stock exchanges. Usually the equity prices will imply cost of equity in the range of 10% to 14%.

Almost always, the cost of equity implied by hospital equity prices traded on public stock exchanges will substantially exceed the cost of long-term debt. Thus, while many hospital executives will view the cost of equity to be substantially less than the cost of debt (i.e., to be zero), in nearly all cases, the appropriate cost of equity will be substantially greater than the cost of debt.

http://www.HealthDictionarySeries.org

Hospitals need to measure their weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

WACC is the cost of long-term debt multiplied by the ratio of long-term debt to total capital plus the cost of equity multiplied by the ratio of equity to total capital (where total capital is the sum of long-term debt and equity).

WACC is then used as the basis for capital charges associated with all capital investments. Capital investments should be expected to generate positive returns after applying this capital charge based on the WACC. Capital investments that don’t generate returns exceeding the WACC consume enterprise value; those that generate returns exceeding WACC increase enterprise value.

Assessment

Hospital executives need to be rewarded for increasing enterprise value. 

Conclusion

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