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December 30, 2017

New Tax Law Changes for 2018, and How They Will Apply to US Expatriates

The President has signed the biggest tax changes in over 30 years. When you file your 2018 tax returns
— about a year from now — your tax return will look very different. And because most changes don’t happen
until then, we have some time to learn about the changes and plan for next year. Here are a few of the biggest
changes that may affect you.
Tax rate changes: Both individual and corporate rates have changed. The maximum individual rate is reduced
to 37% and the corporate rate is now a flat 21%. The rate chang could benefit you — or in some cases
cause your tax liability to go up.
Standard deduction increases:  However, there are no more personal exemption deductions allowed.
So this may help you — or hurt you.
Increased Child Tax Credit and new Dependent Credit: The credit is increased for each child to $2,000
(up to $1,400 of which is refundable for each child) and each non-child dependent can now receive a new
credit of $500. But you will have no exemption credit or deduction for yourself, your spouse, or your depenDeardents.
The phaseout thresholds for these credits are drastically increased. Married taxpayers filing a joint return can
claim the full credits if their adjusted gross income is $400,000 or less ($200,000 for all others). The credits
are fully phased out for married taxpayers filing a joint return when their adjusted gross income reaches $440,000 ($240,000 for all others). This means that many more taxpayers will be able to claim these credits in 2018 and beyond.
Disappearing deductions: Beginning with the 2018 tax year, you will no longer be able to deduct:
  • State income tax and property taxes above $10,000 per year in total;
  • Moving expenses (with an exception for certain military);
  • Employee business expenses such as mileage, travel, entertainment, home office expenses, union dues
  • , tax preparation fees, and investment fees, among others;
  • Mortgage interest beyond interest on $750,000 of acquisition debt, if you purchase a new home; and
  • Mortgage interest paid on equity debt (this is no longer deductible for any taxpayers).
Some new benefits for individuals: These new benefits include:
  • The medical expense AGI threshold will temporarily drop to 7.5% of AGI for 2017 and 2018;
  • The AMT threshold is increased, so fewer middle-income taxpayers will be subject to AMT;
  • The estate tax exclusion has nearly doubled, to $10 million (adjusted for inflation); and
  • The annual gift tax exclusion remains the same ($14,000 for 2017 and $15,000 for 2018)
  • but the maximum rate on gifts is 35%.
Small business benefit: Beginning in 2018, there will be up to a 20% deduction from net business income
for a sole proprietorship, LLC (excluding those taxed as a C corporation), partnership, S corporation, and
rental activity. The rules are incredibly complex but there is a lot of planning that we can do to maximize this
deduction for you. More on this later
For expatriates, the foreign earend income exclusion, housing exclusion and foreign tax credits have not been changed at all.
As stated above, you will have some changes with respect to any foreign corporations you own all or part
of, but the exact nature of those changes awaits IRS interpretations and regulations.
Remember all of these changes take effect in 2018 and your 2018 tax return. All of the old rules still apply to your 2017 tax returns which you will need to file shortly.

Let us know if we can help with your 2017 return, and 2018 tax planning. Email us at and visit our website at

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