Less than three weeks after Trump signed Republican tax legislation into law, the IRS is developing new withholding tables to advise employers on how much federal tax to withhold from paychecks under the new regime. However, the IRS says it doesn't expect that tool to be online until "the end of February". Trump said lower taxes and deregulation will rev up the rural economy in a partisan speech geared toward a much broader audience than the farmers gathered to hear him.
Senator Ron Wyden of OR and Representative Richard E. Neal of MA, the top Democrats on the Senate and House tax writing committees, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking it to analyze the 2018 withholding tables and determine whether they will result in "systematic under-withholding".
Republicans have promised that American wage earners will see bumps in their paychecks starting in February - after employers have made the withholding adjustments. Those changes, the senior IRS official said, will require most, but not all employees, to file new W4 forms later this year.
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The new guidelines incorporate lower tax rates that were central to the tax overhaul from Congress's December tax overhaul.
The law lowers tax rates, which is the primary reason Americans will see bigger paychecks next month, but it also limits or scales back tax deductions, changes that might not be realized until Americans file their tax returns.
While companies and workers try to figure out the new tax landscape, states are trying to mitigate some of the tax hits in the law.
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"Republicans are using brute force and speed to implement a law that will deliver a financial blow to hardworking Americans all across the country", Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.
In the final phase, the IRS later this year will likely make further changes that will be effective 2019. The tax code now limits the deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000. There are also new limits on the mortgage interest deduction, and the Child Tax Credit was expanded. Washington is encouraging employers to implement the new withholding tables as soon as possible, but no later than February 15.
Nonpartisan tax experts project that the law will bring lower taxes for the great majority of Americans, though not all. Employers and payroll companies will now be required to process and implement those changes.
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And roughly three-quarters of tax filers are overwithheld because they take too few allowances. Personal exemptions are a core feature of the current withholding system, but now that they are eliminated, "it's necessary to build a new approach to withholding, which will take some time", the senior IRS official said.