10. Gift exclusion.
The annual exclusion for gifts is the same for calendar year 2019 as it was for 2018: $15,000.
9. Estate tax exclusion.
Estates of decedents who die during 2019 have a basic exclusion amount of $11,400,000; that’s up from a total of $11,180,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2018.
8. Health FSA salary reductions.
For taxable years beginning in 2019, the dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements is $2,700, up $50 from the limit for 2018.
7. Penalty for lack of health coverage.
For calendar year 2019, the dollar amount used to determine the penalty for not maintaining minimum essential health coverage is zero, per the tax overhaul enacted in 2017; for 2018, the amount was $695.
6. Earned income credit.
For tax year 2019, the maximum earned income credit amount is $6,557 for taxpayers filing jointly who have three or more qualifying children; that’s up from a total of $6,431 for tax year 2018. For more specifics on categories, income thresholds and phaseouts, refer to the revenue procedure.
5. Alternative minimum tax.
For tax year 2019, the AMT exemption amount is $71,700; it begins to phase out at $510,300 ($111,700, for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $1,020,600). The 2018 exemption amount was $70,300 and began to phase out at $500,000 ($109,400 for married couples filing jointly and began to phase out at $1 million).
4. Itemized deductions.
The limitation on itemized deduction is gone, for 2019 as for 2018; it was eliminated by the tax overhaul.
3. Tax rates.
For 2019, there are seven tax rates, beginning at 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $510,300 ($612,350 for married couples filing jointly). In descending order, the others are 35%, for incomes over $204,100 ($408,200 for couples); 32% for incomes over $160,725 ($321,450 for couples); 24% for incomes over $84,200 ($168,400 for couples); 22% for incomes over $39,475 ($78,950 for couples); 12% for incomes over $9,700 ($19,400 for couples); and last (and least), 10% for single individuals with incomes of $9,700 or less ($19,400 for couples).
2. Personal exemption.
This was eliminated in the tax overhaul, affecting 2018, but there’s no new change coming for 2019, so it remains at zero.
1. Standard deduction.
For married filing jointly, this rises to $24,400 for tax year 2019, up $400 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, it rises to $12,200 for 2019, up $200, and for heads of households, it will be $18,350 for tax year 2019, up $350.
The suspense is over — if you can keep track of all the new rules, that is, and of course only until Congress decides to change something else. The IRS has issued tax year 2019 inflation adjustments for more than 60 tax provisions, including tax rate schedules. You can find the exhaustive list in Revenue Procedure 2018-57, but below is a sampling of what awaits tax filers come April 15, 2020.
Deductions and exemptions are generally high on everyone’s list, but there are plenty of other important categories to check out — preferably when it’s still early enough to plan to use them to greatest advantage (or least damage).
Check out the gallery above for 10 of the changes.