Weekly Columns

Out With the Old, In With the New

f t # e
Washington, April 18, 2018 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

Every April, Americans face the dreaded tax filing season, a season marked for many with long, complicated forms, hours of rifling through paperwork and working through expenses from the previous year. This year, Tax Day fell on April 17, and marked the last Tax Day that Americans will have to file under the old, outdated, overly-complicated and hard-to-navigate tax code.

Since I’ve been in Congress, I have been a strong advocate for overhauling and simplifying our tax code. Thankfully, on December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, the first major reform of our tax code in more than three decades. 

Since tax reform was signed into law, there’s been no shortage of reasons to celebrate. Hardworking Americans have more money in their pockets now that tax withholdings have been changed; greater simplicity and certainty in the filing process; and relief from Obamacare’s individual mandate – which are just a few of the benefits we’re seeing every day as a result of tax reform. Furthermore, contrary to some of the misinformation that has been put out about this bill, the overwhelming majority of families are going to see a tax cut under this law.

Lower tax rates for all Americans means individuals get to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend or save as they see fit. A typical family of four in the First District of Tennessee earning an income of around $58,367 will receive a tax cut of around $1,620 under the new tax code. Already, 85 percent of East Tennesseans take the standard deduction, so by nearly doubling the standard deduction, even more East Tennesseans will be able to file their taxes on a simplified form, rather than filing confusing itemized deductions. In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the Child Tax Credit in order to help families with the cost of raising children.

Making this law even better for families is that many employers have increased wages, offered bonuses for their employees or improved their benefits, and we’re seeing a resurgence of economic optimism for the future. In Tennessee, organizations are recognizing the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the effects are tangible. For example, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge just announced earlier this week that it would be giving a $500 bonus to 1,200 employees. McKee Foods in Collegedale, Tennessee, announced this month that they are further investing in their employees’ education, as well as offering bonuses to everyone who was employed before March 23, 2018. Other East Tennessee employers – including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and AT&T, just to name a few – are using the new tax law to boost the economy and offer more benefits to their current employees. 

Further, this week, the House voted on a series of bills to redesign the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and make it a “Taxpayer First” organization. The Taxpayer First Act revises the agency to ensure taxpayers are being treated fairly. The 21st Century IRS Act will also be considered on the House floor, which seeks to modernize the IRS and improve the ease and efficiency of the taxpayer experience when filing taxes, resolving issues and making payments.

This Tax Day, we have a reason to celebrate; and I’m proud that next year, Americans will see even greater benefits of this updated, reformed tax code. 

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website, www.roe.house.gov.

f t # e
Tags: Taxes