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Archive for the ‘inflation’ Category

2018 Federal Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 25, 2017

Every year, some parts of the tax code, such as the beginning and ending points for the various personal income tax brackets, are adjusted for the change in the government’s official Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of August 31.  This is supposed to prevent “bracket creep,” where people whose income is just keeping pace with inflation are pushed into the higher percentage brackets.

Not all tax related amounts in the Tax Code adjust automatically for inflation.  There are scores of tax related figures in the Tax Code that do not ever get adjusted and have been the same for several decades, waiting for an official Act of Congress to be adjusted for the effects of inflation.

As has been the tradition, tax publishers are the first to do the calculations and release the inflation adjustments for the next year.  IRS will release their official inflation adjustments for 2018 in the next month or so, assuming those IRS employees are still around in IRS HQ.

The first such report with 2018 adjusted amounts that I have come across is this 16 page pdf from Thomson Reuters.

Projected 2018 Inflation-Adjusted Tax Brackets and Other Key Figures

As I have done in previous years, I will post links to other such reports, as I learn about them.

Update 10/25/2017:  IRS has announced their official inflation adjustment figures in the following two news releases.

IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018

In 2018, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Unchanged

One key adjustment that I didn’t mention earlier is the fact that, after several years at $14,000, the annual Gift Tax exclusion will rise to $15,000 per donor per donee for 2018.  This exemption is only increased in $1,000 increments, so it normally takes a few years of cumulative inflation before it’s enough to trigger the $1,000 increase.

Posted in inflation | Comments Off on 2018 Federal Inflation Adjustments

IRS’s 2017 Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 26, 2016

As anyone who follows the tax systems in this country knows, they consist of a crazy quilt of thousands of different provisions.  Some of the provisions have dollar amounts that are never changed without an official Act of Congress.  As a result, many of these have been in the system at the same amounts for decades and have not kept up with inflation.

One of the biggest such unchanged figures is the $250,000 per person tax free exclusion of gain from sales of primary residences, under Section 121. This has been the exemption amount when this provision took effect on May 7, 1997 and is still that exact same amount today.  While that amount does cover the gains that most people have when they sell their homes, especially in “fly-over” parts of this country, it is far from adequate to cover the gains sellers in expensive areas have, such as on the coasts.

Other provisions of our tax systems have been written with annual inflation adjustments in order to keep up with the cost of living.  The most important area is with the “progressive” (aka “soak the rich”) tax rate structure that we have that assesses much higher percentages on taxpayers who earn more money than others.  Before our rulers in DC added annual inflation adjustments to where these tax brackets begin and end, many people were victims of what was called “Bracket Creep.”  Their income was growing at the pace of inflation, but they were finding themselves pushed into the higher percentage brackets.  With annual inflation adjustments of the brackets, taxpayers whose income only rises at the same rate as the CPI should stay in the same marginal brackets.

Interestingly, the inflation adjustments for tax rates only apply to individual taxpayers.  The tax rate structure for C corporations has been pretty much the same for decades and does not change until our all powerful rulers in DC so decree.

This is a longer than normal introduction to the IRS’s official calculation and announcement of the inflation adjusted amounts for 2017.  These are very handy for tax planning purposes. 

Some States also have similar kinds of inflation adjustments for their state level taxes, but they are normally announced much later than IRS’s timetable.  For example, the California Franchise Tax Board just announced its 2016 inflation adjustments on Sept 7, 2016.

IRS Summary of 2017 Changes:

In 2017, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Are Unchanged

IRS Details of Changes: 

Revenue Procedure 2016-55  (30 page PDF)

 

Annual Gifting Exclusion:

The amount that is exempt from Gift Tax reporting is not adjusted every year.  It is only adjusted when the cumulative CPI change since the most recent change is close to $1,000 so the amount can always be an even multiple of thousands and not some odd looking number.  Since I constantly receive questions about gifting, I want to point out that the 2016 inflation has been so low that the annual exclusion will remain at the same $14,000 per donor per donee amount for 2017 as it has been since 2013.

 

 

Posted in 2017, inflation, IRS | Comments Off on IRS’s 2017 Inflation Adjustments

2016 Federal Tax Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 15, 2015

Every year around this time, different tax scholars apply the past year’s annual inflation rate to those parts of the IRC that require annual adjustments. 

The first such announcement that I have learned about for 2016 is from The Tax Foundation. Here is the summary of their calculations:

Web – HTML

PDF (4 pages)

Update: IRS Has released its own calculations of the inflation adjustments for 2016:

In 2016, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due to Inflation Adjustments, Others Are Unchanged

Revenue Procedure 2015-53 with more details (27 page PDF)

IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2016

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on 2016 Federal Tax Inflation Adjustments