Overview of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed on December 22, 2017 and brings some of the most substantial changes to the tax code in more than 30 years. Here is an overview of the changes within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, effective January 1, 2018.


  • The income tax rate for C corporations is lowered to a flat 21% from a maximum rate of 35%. In addition, the 80% and 70% dividends received deductions are reduced to 65% and 50%, respectively. 
  • A 20% deduction is allowed for taxpayers who have certain domestic qualified business income from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship. Also known as pass-through income, previously it was subject to individual income tax rates and brackets. Trusts and estates are also eligible for this deduction. The deduction is limited to either 50% of wage income or 25% of wage income plus 2.5% of the cost of tangible depreciable property for qualifying businesses, whichever is greater. Certain conditions must be met to receive this benefit.
  • The average gross receipts threshold for the cash method of accounting increases to $25 million, regardless of industry or entity type. Entities with average gross receipts less than $25 million in the previous three years are required to apply for an accounting method change in order to implement the cash method.
  • Taxpayers with average gross receipts for the previous three tax years are not required to account for certain costs in inventories and are exempt from the UNICAP rules. Both of these accounting method changes have potential to relieve taxpayers from recordkeeping requirements associated with inventories. The IRS requires a filed accounting method in order to implement these changes.
  • The Section 179 deduction increases to $1 million with the phaseout threshold starting at $2.5 million. These amounts will be indexed for inflation beginning after 2018.
  • The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is repealed for corporations only.
  • The domestic production activities deduction is repealed.
  • The average gross receipts exception to the requirement to use the percentage-of-completion accounting method for long-term contracts increases to $25 million for contracts entered into after 2017. Businesses that meet this exception will be permitted to use the completed-contract method.


  • Seven tax brackets remain, but rates are reduced. The new tax code reduces the top rate from 39.6% to 37%, and in some cases, income subject to the new rates is lower. 
Tax Rate Single Head of Household Married Filing Jointly
10% $0 $0 $0
12% $9,525 $13,600 $19,050
22% $38,700 $51,800 $77,400
24% $82,500 $82,500 $165,000
32% $157,500  $157,500 $315,000
35% $200,000  $200,000 $400,000
37% $500,000       $500,000 $600,000


  • The standard deduction increases to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for joint filers.
  • The personal exemption deduction is eliminated. In 2017, the personal exemption was $4,050.
  • The child tax credit doubles to $2,000 per qualifying child - $1,400 of which is refundable.
  • The AMT exemption increases to $109,400 for joint filers, $70,300 for individuals, and $54,700 for married filing separately.
  • The health insurance mandate penalty lowers to $0, repealing the individual mandate, and is effective January 1, 2019.
  • The maximum student loan interest deduction stays at $2,500.
  • The itemized deduction for state and local property taxes, and state and local income taxes, is limited to $10,000 for joint filers.
  • The "Pease" limitation - which decreased available itemized deductions for higher income taxpayers - has been suspended.
  • The adjusted gross income (AGI) limitation on cash charitable contributions has increased to 60%. The 80% deduction for contributions made for university athletic seating rights has been repealed.
  • All miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor are suspended.


  • The estate tax unified credit exclusion doubles to $10 million and will adjust for inflation.
  • The estate and gift generation-skipping transfer exemption increases to $10 million and will adjust for inflation.

This outline is meant to provide a broad overview of some key items included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that may impact you and/or your business. There is much more to consider for your 2018 tax strategy and for future planning. To learn more about the specific implications of this tax reform, or if you have any questions, please contact your Beene Garter professional.