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CPAs, lawyers and financial advisers tell Bloomberg personal-finance writer Ben Steverman that they are still trying to sort out the new law's financial consequences for major life decisions:

  • Estate planning: "Starting in 2018, single people who die with about $11 million would not be subject to the estate tax, up from $5.5 million. Married couples can shield about $22 million from estate and gift taxes. ... The higher thresholds expire in 2026."
  • David Scott Sloan, co-chair of global private wealth services at Holland & Knight in Boston: "We're lining up appointments for January because of the tax-free gifting opportunities."
  • Business ownership: "The pass-through deduction could also create an incentive for more workers to quit their jobs and become independent contractors. But the law also could complicate the taxes of many Americans who are self-employed now, including so-called gig economy workers such as Uber drivers."
  • Marriage: "Under current law, many two-income couples end up paying more in taxes by getting married. The law eliminates that marriage penalty for couples making less than a combined $600,000.""But be advised: Those individual tax-rate changes are set to end in 2026 -- after that, your marriage might have to be just about love.

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Paul J. Feiner, supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, on a rush of property owners who want to prepay 2018 taxes to beat the $10,000 cap on deducting state, local and property taxes:

  • "I'm getting swamped with many, many calls, usually one an hour, from people who want to prepay their taxes."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

2 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.