The New 2017 Tax Reform Bill

The New 2017 Tax Reform Bill – Perspectives from a Financial Advisor: Early in the morning of December 20, 2017, the Senate passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a party-line vote of 51 to 48; (Republican Senator McCain was absent for medical reasons). Irrespective of your political affiliation most would agree that this legislative achievement is the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than 30 years. Naturally, the question we are all asking is “how does this impact me and my family?” Well, that’s a challenging one to answer because everyone is different, but let’s examine the changes from 30,000 feet. Please remember, however, that this summary is by no means meant to be considered tax advice – you should consult your advisor to determine how it might impact you personally. Implications for the US Economy? By almost all accounts, the Tax Cuts and Jobs …

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What’s Next for Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

Tax reform took on new urgency for the Trump administration after it was unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), but disagreements that persist between the president and GOP leaders in Congress have put any action in doubt for now. The Senate has passed a budget plan, but no specifics regarding tax reform have been worked out yet, leaving the issue’s fate uncertain. For advisors and consumers alike, this means a wait-and-see situation. “Don’t overreact or make any reactionary plans based off of something that isn’t law, but make sure you’re aware of the changes that are being proposed,” says Garrett Oakley, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an investment adviser. Here’s what could be in store on tax reform. Fewer Tax Brackets While most experts agree that the number of tax brackets is likely to be reduced, it’s unclear what …

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How Tax Reform Could Impact Annuities

Uncertainty around the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts has made it difficult to predict the kinds of effects that could be in store for a wide variety of consumers, investors and employers. It’s especially hard for annuity experts to determine what might happen to retirement spending. If consumers have more money in their pockets because of lower taxes, they may invest it in long-term savings, while fewer savings incentives might inspire them to simply spend the money somewhere else. So how might this affect annuities? “No one has a clue,” says lawyer Mitchell Miller. The estate tax is one of the rules expected to change, but it’s unclear exactly what might happen. “We have no idea of the form estate tax reform will take: Outright elimination? Increased exemption? Will gift tax be maintained? How about the step-up in basis? What happens to annuities will depend mightily on the details.” Here …

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Wanted: An Alternative to the SSN

Social Security numbers (SSNs) were never meant to be a personal identifier, but the latest large cybersecurity breach, at Equifax, shows that’s not always the case. As a result, White House Cyber Coordinator Rob Joyce is calling for replacements to the Social Security numbering system. One option would be a public-private “key” system that uses changeable, public-facing identifiers for some environments and more permanent identifiers for others. “SSNs were originally designed to be secret, private and only shared when needed,” says Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust, which develops privileged account management and vulnerability management solutions. “That is still true, but due to information technology they have been leaked and breached en masse.” Learn more about why SSNs are vulnerable and what other options might include. Why Are SSNs Vulnerable? One of the main reasons SSNs are troublesome when used as identifiers is that they are one of …

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