Trump tax plan 2017 Both the House and Senate have passed their versions of President Trump's tax bill, and there are many similarities, including the limiting of itemized deductions to mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and property taxes (up to $10,000), and the doubling of the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions from $5.6 million to $112 million in 2018. These versions also differ in a number of ways. These differences will have to be resolved through a legislative conference committee. Some differences should be easy to reconcile, but resolving others is expected to take time and effort.

What to Do Now

It's rarely a good idea to make big changes while the legislative process is still ongoing, but waiting until legislation is signed may not provide enough time to make changes before the end of the year. Still, there are things that you can do now that can offer protection against what may be coming in 2018, with no or minimal negative consequences, regardless of what's included in the final bill. Taxpayers should start planning now and consult with their tax advisors to determine the actions that make sense for them in light of their unique circumstances.

US tax changes for 2017

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security component of the FICA tax will increase from $127,200 to $128,700 for 2018. This means that for 2018, the maximum Social Security tax that employers and employees will each pay is $7,979.40 ($128,700 x 6.2%). A self-employed person with at least $128,700 in net self-employment earnings will pay $15,958.80 ($128,700 x 12.40%) for the Social Security part of the self-employment tax. The Medicare component remains 1.45% of all earnings, and individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly, $125,000 for married filing separately) will pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes. 

For 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that cash wages paid by an employer for domestic service in the employer's private household is subject to FICA tax (often referred to as nanny tax) if the amount of wages paid during the year is more than $2,100. This is up from $2,000 for 2017.

Other provisions are increasing for inflation in 2018, including the personal exemption, which increases from $4,050 in 2017 to $4,150 for 2018. The standard deduction for married taxpayers filing joint returns increases to $13,000, $300 more than in 2017. It also increases slightly for single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing separately to $6,500. The standard deduction increases for heads of household, from $9,350 in 2017 to $9,550 in 2018.

By Allan Kunigis 

retired-784483 960 720Many of our clients talk to us about setting up retirement plans, contributing to retirement plans, and focusing on the monetary aspects of retirement. But what they don't do is spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for the nonfinancial aspects of their retirement; they don't realize it's the biggest transition they'll ever go through.

The consequences of not planning can include sitting around with growing boredom. Retirees watch TV an average of 43.5 hours a week, according to Age Wave 2012, and lack of stimulation can be associated with higher risks of alcoholism or depression.

BoomerBust Green 101617FINALwithlink-1

ransomware-warningThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new scheme targeting taxpayers. The scheme, which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called "a new twist on an old scheme" involves a bogus email which impersonates the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. The email urges recipients to click on a link to download a questionnaire allegedly from the FBI. The email implies that the questionnaire is required as part of changes in the law focused on tax compliance. The regs referenced in the email are bogus, and the link doesn't click through to a questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads ransomware.