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Wealthy Americans are already exploiting the tax plan

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."
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