CLAYTON — Members of the Northern Chamber Alliance held a joint meeting on Wednesday to receive an update on the changes in tax laws since last year. The meeting, held at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center Adult Education Center, is one of multiple Lunch and Learn events sponsored by the Northern Chamber Alliance.
The Alliance is a coalition of northern Miami Valley Chambers of Commerce that includes Northmont Area, Brookville, Trotwood, Huber Heights, and the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce.
On hand to brief the members was Maggie Sheely from the Great Lakes Regional Office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jeff McClain with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and Constance R. Woods, a Certified Public Accountant with Woods and Woods Associates in Vandalia.
Sheely noted that the tax reform bill passed by Congress in 2017 was the first since 1986. The U.S. Chamber of commerce was “All-in” on tax reform.
“We engaged state and local chambers like never before and mobilized hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters,” said Sheely.
The result, according to Sheely, was a pro-growth bill that will keep jobs and investment in the U.S., allow American companies to compete globally, and promote small business growth.
The bill dropped the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and provides for a 20 percent deduction for small business income.
Individuals also received a tax cut with the top individual rate being reduced to 37 percent from 39.6 percent. Also, the standard deduction was nearly doubled as did the Child Tax Credit. The threshold for the 40 percent estate tax was also doubled from $5.6 million to $11.2 million.
Woods said that while the tax rates have fallen, and the IRS withholding tables were changed to provide for less withholding immediately, many may be caught off guard and owe significant sums when they file their taxes next year.
“There will be some scrambling because there were some things taken away,” said Woods. “They have sweetened the pot to encourage use of the standard deductions, but remember, they doubled the standard deduction but took away all the exemptions. A family of four is losing $16,000 (in exemptions) while only gaining $12,000. You may or may not come out better. I think some people may get blindsided.”
What is certain about the tax bill is the uncertainty. All presenters agreed there are many things still unknown about the bill including unintended consequences and how the law will be interpreted. They noted that bills of this size are often tweaked by Congress.
“There’s a myriad of things we don’t know,” said Sheely, “but what we do know is this bill will be with us a long time.”