Clinton- Trump III

Have you been watching the debates? Hard not to, like driving by an accident on the highway you just have to look. I try not to be political in my blog but the debates are just too juicy to pass up. One thing I have been noticing about this election, there don’t seem to be as many “signs” as in other years. I usually see signs and bumper stickers in support of the candidates. While I am seeing a lot of signs for the local candidates I’m not seeing any Clinton or Trump signs. Perhaps the reason is that many are undecided? Or is it that no one wants to be public about who they support?

Wouldn’t it be nice if tonight’s debate just focused on the issues? I have a cousin/friend who had a great idea that will never be implemented. New debate rules.

Dave Krechevsky

My fantasy for the final debate: The candidates are NOT allowed to talk about each other. Topics will be limited to real issues: the economy, health care, ISIS, the racial divide, refugees, etc. Responses must be limited to only what he/she proposes to do. If either begins to stray and talks about or attacks the other, his/her microphone is shut off and the rest of his/her time to respond is lost or given to the other. And Bob Schieffer would be moderator.

Since we know this won’t happen, I thought it might help if I reposted each candidates proposal on taxes. At least when you are watching the debate you can have some info that might help you make a choice on policy and not on personality.

 

Though tax policies haven’t received top billing in this year’s presidential election dialogue, they’re still part of the conversation. Here’s a quick review of each candidate’s tax proposals based on information released by their campaigns. Keep in mind that regardless of who wins in November, any changes to tax policy would require congressional action.

Note:  On August 8, 2016, Donald Trump announced a revised tax plan. Full details of the new plan were not immediately available on the campaign’s website. The following summary is based on the original plan announced by the Trump campaign and what we currently know about the revised plan.

Tax brackets

Plans released by the Trump campaign initially proposed reducing the current seven tax brackets to four, with the top rate dropping from 39.6% to 25%, and no tax due for individuals with incomes under $25,000 ($50,000 for married couples filing jointly) Trump has recently announced changes to his tax proposal, including a consolidation to three tax brackets: 12%, 25%, and 33%. This change moves the Trump campaign’s plan closer to the tax reform plan announced by House Republicans in June of this year. The Clinton campaign’s tax plans do not reflect changes to existing tax brackets, but do support a new 4% “fair share surcharge” on taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeding $5 million.

Long-term capital gains and qualified dividends

Currently, lower tax rates generally apply to qualified dividends and to capital gains resulting from the sale of assets held longer than one year. Plans released by the Clinton campaign recommend adjusting the holding period schedule for long-term capital gains, increasing the minimum holding period from one to two years and adding medium-term holding periods that gradually reduce the top long-term rate down to 20% for assets held for more than six years. Plans initially released by the Trump campaign indicated that the top rate of 20% would continue to apply, with no change to current holding requirements.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT)

The AMT is a separate, parallel federal income tax with its own rates (26% or 28%, depending on income) and rules. It is intended to ensure that taxpayers who use certain strategies to reduce their tax liability pay a minimum amount of tax. The Trump campaign has called for elimination of the AMT. The Clinton tax plan would presumably add a new tax layer, imposing a minimum tax due of 30% on those with incomes exceeding $1 million.

Deductions, exemptions, and exclusions

Proposals released by both candidates would limit itemized deductions for higher-income filers. The Clinton team’s plan would limit the benefit of itemized deductions and certain items that are excluded from income (e.g., tax-exempt interest) to 28%, which means that the benefit of these items would be reduced for individuals in higher tax brackets; charitable deductions would be excluded from this limitation. The Trump team’s plan would accelerate the limitation of itemized deductions and the phaseout of personal exemptions for higher-income filers, though the treatment of deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest would remain unchanged. The original Trump campaign tax plan also indicated that the ability to exclude earnings in life insurance contracts from income would be phased out for high-income individuals.

Estate tax

The two campaigns have very different views of the existing federal estate tax. The Clinton campaign proposes increasing the top estate tax rate from 40% to 45%, and decreasing the estate tax exclusion from $5.45 million to $3.5 million. The Trump campaign proposes eliminating the federal estate tax.

 

About Jeffrey Berson

40 years in and around the industry has made Insurance a part of my DNA. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the greatest minds in our industry. My "Bersonal" View is an attempt to capture some of the best ideas, the best concepts and the best practices in a way that can lead to success for others. It will certainly be my point of view, so please...don't take it "Bersonal".
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