4 Key Parts of the Senate Tax Bill Proposal Summary, for Agents

The tax fight flares in the Senate

(Photo: Allison Bell/TA) (Photo: Allison Bell/TA)

Senate Republicans today sent reporters from outside the Beltway on a desperate scavenger hunt for the PDF of the summary of their tax bill proposal.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, unveiled the summary at a press briefing together with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

(Related: ‘Rothification’ of 401(k)s Likely in Senate Tax Plan)

At press time (about 7 p.m. EST), however, Senate Republican bill supporters did not seem to have posted a copy of either the bill or the summary on the web in any easy-to-find location.

C-SPAN posted a copy of what appears to be the summary PDF here.

The Senate bill summary does not appear to include descriptions of the kinds of provisions in H.R. 1, the House version of the bill, that could have a big effect on life insurance company earnings, but the drafters of the House bill did not include any information about those types of provisions in their bill summary, either.

The Senate Republicans say they would continue retirement savings programs like the 401(k) program, but they do not give any details about the terms under which they would continue those programs.

The Senate Republicans seem to be keeping the same bill name the House is using for H.R. 1: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Here are other four key provisions described in the Senate bill summary that might be of interest to agents who sell life insurance, health insurance or annuities.


1. Income Brackets

The Senate Republicans would create seven income brackets, with tax rates for the brackets ranging from zero to 38.5%.

Under current law, the tax rate for people in the top bracket is 39.6%.

The House bill would keep just four brackets, with the rates ranging from zero to 39.6%.


2. Standard Deduction

Like the House bill, the Senate bill would increase the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for couples, from $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for couples today.


3. Medical Expense Deduction

The House bill would eliminate the current deduction. The Senate bill would keep it. The Senate Republicans say they also would provide a bigger standard deduction for the blind and the elderly. In the PDF summary on the C-SPAN website, the Senate Republicans do not say how big the enhancement would be.

4. Estate tax

The House version of the bill would double the individual estate tax exemption immediately, to $5.49 million, then eliminate the tax entirely after 2023.

Senate Republicans say they would double the estate tax exemption permanently but keep the tax in place.

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