On the Money

How the Trump tax plan will make 'most people better off','Tax Foundation president says

Key Points
  • The Trump administration's tax plan 'is a step in the right direction,' Scott Hodge, president of the independent Tax Foundation told CNBC in an interview.
  • There will be 'big changes' for those at the bottom end of the tax bracket, he added.
Taxing plans
Taxing plans

With Washington planning a broad overhaul, your tax bracket could be changing. But will that actually score you and your family a lower tax bill?

While the Republican-led tax reform plan is short on some details at this point, the head of a tax policy group called the plan "viable" in an interview with CNBC.

"I think it's a real step in the right direction," Scott Hodge, president of the non-partisan tax policy research Tax Foundation told CNBC's On the Money recently. "Not only in just simplifying the tax system, but in creating a more dynamic tax system, one that is more conducive to economic growth."

Founded in 1937, The Tax Foundation is an independent, non-partisan tax policy research organization.

The tax overhaul promises a simpler tax code. For individual taxpayers, the current seven income tax brackets would be reduced to just three: 35 percent, 25 percent and 12 percent.

However, another "bracket" is zero percent, which represents those who don't pay any income tax at all. The standard deduction will double to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Hodge predicted those folks will come out ahead under the new plan. "At the bottom end, they're going to make some big changes. They're increasing the standard deduction, the 'zero bracket' if you will, so that a couple won't pay any income taxes up to $24,000 a year. That's great."

But while establishing fewer income brackets, the plan is proposing the removal of nearly all itemized deductions, except those for mortgage interest and for charitable donation deductions.

"That's the real balance here, is how far we can reduce tax rates to make up for some of the deductions that we're going to lose," Hodge said.

Another major provision of the GOP tax reform plan is the elimination of deductions for state and local taxes – a change that could hit middle and upper-income taxpayers.

"It's possible that some people who earn between $100,000 and $250,000 a year may be slightly worse off, "Hodge predicted. "Because remember, they're paying very high property taxes, very high state taxes and so it's possible that even by reducing tax rates, they may end up paying a slight increase in taxes."

Overall, however, Hodge told CNBC he sees the reform plan as reducing tax bills for many.

"Even when you reduce the deductions that we get, and lower rates, the combination of these things will make most people much better off," he added.

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