Congress is enacting 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 best position yourself for the tax breaks that may be heading your way. Below is a quick rundown of last-minute moves to consider.

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-throughs, 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:

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:

Other year-end strategies. Here are some other last-minute moves that can save tax dollars in view of
the new tax law:

These are only some of the year-end moves to consider in light of the new tax law. If you would like more details about any aspect of how the new law may affect you, please contact your tax professional.

On December 20, the House passed the reconciled tax reform bill, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (TCJA), which the Senate had passed the previous day. Once signed by the President, this marks the most sweeping tax legislation since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

The bill makes small reductions to income tax rates for most individual tax brackets, significantly reduces the income tax rate for corporations and eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). It also provides a large new tax deduction for owners of pass-through entities and significantly increases individual AMT and estate tax exemptions. And it makes major changes related to the taxation of foreign income.The TCJA also eliminates or limits many tax breaks, and much of the tax relief is only temporary.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the key changes affecting individual and business taxpayers. Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Key changes affecting individuals

Key changes affecting businesses


November 9 was a busy day in Washington for lawmakers in their race to create a tax reform package. The House Ways and Means Committee made amendments to, and approved, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And the Senate Finance Committee released “policy highlights” for its proposed version of a tax plan.

Many of the House and Senate provisions are similar. For example, both plans would repeal the alternative minimum tax and retain the charitable contribution deduction. However, there are a number of key differences. Here is a high-level comparison of the House and the Senate tax bill proposals:

Individual taxes

The following changes would generally be effective beginning in 2018:

Business taxes

These changes also would generally be effective beginning in 2018, but be sure to note the exceptions:

Next Steps

Despite all of the proposed tax reform activity, there is still a long way to go before a law is passed. The full House of Representatives plans to vote on its bill as early as this week, according to Republican leaders. Senate Finance Committee members said they will make revisions to their plan in coming weeks before crafting a formal bill to be submitted for a full Senate vote.
The House and Senate must reconcile their differences into a single bill that Republican lawmakers hope to vote on before Christmas so that President Trump can sign it by December 31. Meanwhile, lobbyists and special interest groups, as well as taxpayers, will continue to weigh in, and some Republican lawmakers have already expressed opposition to parts of the proposals.
With the significant differences between the House and Senate plans, it remains to be seen whether they will craft a unified bill that can be passed by both chambers by the end of the year.
The SKR+CO tax team is actively monitoring tax reform proposals and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Employers to use the New I-9 Form

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised version of the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). Employees must begin using the new version to verify a new hire's identity and work authorization by September 18, 2017. In the meantime, employers have the option of using the outgoing version, which is dated 11/14/16.

What is different in the new version? 

Revisions to the instructions: Relatively minor revisions, such as changing the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

Revisions to the list of acceptable documents:

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.

Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.

NOTE: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9.

Download the New I-9 today!