12 Big Tax Changes for 2018

12 Big Tax Changes for 2018

If you've watched any news this year, you'll know that sweeping tax law changes are coming. But, how will they affect you and your family?

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Big tax changes to consider for 2018: If you watch the news and keep up with current events, you will know that in recent months, the House and Senate have renegotiated and revamped many of the tax laws. After many months of back and forth, the changes are here and there are some things that you need to know. Here are the changes you can expect to see this coming tax season.

1. Tax Bracket Changes

Tax exemptions and rates are primarily based upon income and there are still 7 major tax brackets to consider. Take the time to view the below information to first see where you fall in line with these 7 income levels. Note that there is now a new lower top tax of 37%. This is, in fact, lower than previous rates proposed by the senate and house majority.

Ok, let's meet the tax brackets:

• 10% Tax $9,525 individuals; $19,050 for married couples and those filing jointly
• 12% Tax between $9,525 and $38,700, individuals; $19,050 to $77,400 filing jointly
• 22% Tax between $38,700 and $82,500, individuals; $77,400 to $165,000 jointly
• 24% Tax between $82,500 and $157,500, individuals; $165,000 to $315,000 jointly
• 32% Tax between $157,500 and $200,000, individuals; $315,000 to $400,000 jointly
• 35% Tax between $200,000 and $500,000, individuals; $400,000 to $600,000 jointly
• 37% Tax over $500,000 individuals; over $600,000 jointly





2. Deductions

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is below $66k, you might even be able to file simple taxes for free.

3. Personal Exemptions Scrapped

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions.

4. Higher Medical Expense Deductions

Medical expenses could previously be deducted for up to 10% of your gross adjusted income. The figure has been lowered to 7.5% for this season and beginning in 2019, there is no longer a penalty in place for not having medical insurance.

5. Fewer Taxpayers Hit AMT

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is placed on those claiming higher income as a separate tax. The new exemption amount for the AMT is up to $109,400 for those married and filing jointly and to $70,300 for those filing as single. Exemptions phase out at $1 million for married filers and $500,000 for single filers. This means that fewer people will reach the AMT threshold.

6. What About Family Exemptions?

As stated above, the $4,050 that was the standard for filing dependents has been eliminated. Those will larger families will be affected most as they will no longer be able to take advantage of that sometimes large tax break.

7. Higher Child Tax Credit

The above deduction being taken away might seem like a let down to some families, but luckily, the government has made up for it. They have chosen to increase the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000. This tax credit is for single parents with a reflective income of up to $200,000 and married couples and those filing jointly for up to $400,000. There is also a new $500 credit for adult dependents.

8. 529 Plans Used Outside of College Expenses

Private school kids are getting a bit of an upgrade with 529 plans coming available for use in grades K-12. Up to $10,000 per year can be used from the college savings program for primary private school education. These funds, however, do not cover homeschooling expenses.

9. Lower Mortgage Interest

Homeowners get a break with the ability to deduct interest on their current home up to $1 million, but those looking to purchase a home will have to contend with a cap of $750,000 for deducted interest.

10. State, Local, and Property Tax

The debate lingers as to which states allow for state and local tax deductions, but it is still available for taxpayers to deduct their property tax, and either sales tax or income, but only up to $10,000. So, can you get out of that state tax bill? Um, no. Haven't you heard that quote about death and taxes?

11. Corporate Tax Rate Drop

Corporate taxes were on the table this year and those taxes have been reduced drastically from 35% to 21%. This is currently the largest drop in history and as of 2026, the change will become permanent. This tax cut has certainly given a short-term boost to Wall Street, but the jury is out on the long-term benefit to Main Street.

12. Pass Through Business Lower Tax Rates

Partnerships, S Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships are known as pass through businesses. These businesses have historically been saddled with high self employment taxes while larger businesses benefit, but these companies are now allowed a bit of a break. Pass through business owners are now allowed to deduct up to 20% of their total annual income instead of resorting to itemization as in years past.

In conclusion: Taxes evolve with time and this year has certainly been a doozy of change for the 2018 tax season. If you have yet to brush up on the new laws and see where you stand, it is time to take advantage of the space between now and filing day and find out which laws you are subject to following and which ones you may be exempt from. As always, file your taxes responsibly to ensure that you never have to hear the most frightening word of all, "AUDIT." Happy (almost!) Tax Season!

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10 Absolute Classic Christmas Flicks To Decompress After College Finals, Because You've Earned It

What movies are the best to watch before Christmas.

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Finals week is finally over, which means that if you're in college, you can finally start enjoying the holiday! And for a lot of college students, one of the best ways to enjoy the holiday is to start watching Christmas movies. There are so many great Christmas movies to watch, and if you're in college, they're a great way to destress after a long stressful semester. Here are 10 of the best Christmas movies to watch if you're in college.

1. "Elf"

Elf

travis / Flickr

Almost any college student will agree with me that one of the of the best Christmas movies is "Elf"! It's one of my favorite Christmas movies, and it's the funniest one to watch! I'm sure a lot of us can relate to Will Ferrell's exaggeration of being excited for Christmas, especially since it's the one time that we can have a break from college. It's a great holiday movie to watch if you want to take away the stress of the semester and if you enjoy movies that make you laugh!

2. "National Lampoon Christmas"

National Lampoon Christmas

travis / Flickr

This is another great Christmas movie to watch if you want something that will give you a good laugh! For anyone who doesn't know what this movie is about, it's a comedy about a dysfunctional family that prepares for Christmas.

3. "It's A Wonderful Life"

It's A Wonderful Life

Wikimedia Commons

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies! If you love old classic uplifting Christmas movies, then you'll enjoy "It's a Wonderful Life." The movie is about a man who wishes he was never born and goes through an experience during Christmas where he gets to take a look at how he impacts other people's lives. What I love about the movie is that it has a good message and you can relate to the characters.

4. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas / Facebook

Whether you decide to watch the live action version featuring Jim Carrey or the newest movie "The Grinch" that's in theaters right now, this one is a Christmas movie must. Whichever type of Grinch movie you prefer, both are funny and great to watch during Christmas.

5. "The Polar Express"

The Polar Express / Facebook

"The Polar Express" is another classic Christmas movie that a lot of college of students probably grew up watching. If you love classic Christmas movies that are uplifting, then this is a great Christmas movie to watch! It's especially great to watch when you need a movie that reminds you of your childhood! It's a fun movie to watch with family or friends too!

6. Home Alone

Home Alone

s_herman on Flickr

"Home Alone" is another great Christmas movie to watch when you need a movie that will make you laugh or remind you of your childhood! It's about a child that gets left at home on Christmas, and a few thieves try to break into his house with him by himself. The movie is a great classic Christmas that's fun to watch with anyone over the holiday!

7. "A Christmas Story"

A Christmas Story / Facebook

This is a great movie to watch if you want an old classic Christmas movie that will give you a good laugh. It's told from the perspective of a child during Christmastime in the 1960s. It's very fun to watch and it gives you a good laugh!

8. "A Christmas Carol"

A Christmas Carol

dennis.pope85 / Flickr

There are tons of different versions of "A Christmas Carol" that you can find anywhere. Even Disney made a version of the movie with Jim Carrey! It's a top classic Christmas that's fun to watch with family or friends during the holiday. It's great to watch when you need an uplifting message after suffering from stress from fall semester.

9. "Jingle All The Way"

Jingle All The Way / Facebook

This is one Christmas movie to watch when you need a good laugh! It's about a father who is struggling to keep his family together after focusing on his job and having issues with his marriage. When his son asks him for a toy that is one of the most popular toys during Christmas and the toy gets sold out, he goes through extreme lengths in order to make his son happy. The movie is relatable because it makes fun of Black Friday and Christmas shopping.

10. "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

The Nightmare Before Christmas / Facebook

If you love Tim Burton or claymations, then you'll enjoy this Christmas movie! This movie is often watched for Halloween or during Christmas since it features both holidays. It's one of the best claymation movies!

Watching Christmas movies is a great way to enjoy the holiday and hang out with your friends or family. You can even make a movie night for watching Christmas movies! Whatever Christmas movie you watch over the holiday, make sure that it's one that you'll enjoy and that will help you get into the spirit of the holiday!

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How Foods Affect Your Moods

There's a strong connection between our gut and brain, and what you eat affects your mood!

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You've already heard that "you are what you eat," but did you ever think about how food affects your moods? It does, and there's even an entire new area of research called "nutritional psychiatry" that studies this "gut-brain" relationship.

So, what have we learned?

Well, we've learned that most of our serotonin (happy hormone) is actually in our gut, not our brain. Maybe that's why what we eat is now considered a "modifiable risk factor" for depression and anxiety.

That means a healthy diet is linked with a lower risk of mental health issues, and and vice-versa.

So, what should we eat to improve our mood and overall mental health?

A Healthy Diet Is Good for Your Gut & Brain

Well, that doesn't sound very sexy. Anyway, let's define what a "healthy" diet consists of. Basically, a healthy diet should include nutritious and fiber-dense foods for both gut and mental health.

Components of a healthy diet include: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, and olive oil (not vegetable oil!)

A number of negative reviews online for commercial diets like Nutrisystem seem to have inspired them to focus more on gut health, resulting in increased fiber content in food and optional probiotics with their plans.

Fast Food Is Bad for Mental Health

Foods associated with poor mental health include: processed, sugary, salty, fried, high-fat foods, and sugary drinks. Wow, that pretty much describes the everything on the menu at Mickey-D's! And you thought that the worst thing fast food does is make you obese? No, fast food encourages anxiety and depression, too.

Ever drive through a bad neighborhood and notice how many fast food restaurants there are? The poor diet of people in these areas is directly responsible for both obesity and mental illness, making it even harder to climb out of poverty.

To Improve Your Mood, Skip the "Happy" Meals!

Oh, how I love irony!

Yes, even though ads for burgers, fries, and cola promise happiness, it's just the opposite. Fast food is bad for your mental health, (and clowns are scary!) so skip fast food altogether for better mental and physical health!

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