Personal Finance

Here are five breaks you’ll miss the most in the tax bill

Key Points
  • Deductions for state, local and property taxes now capped at $10,000.
  • Alimony paid to your ex is no longer deductible.
  • The cut to the mortgage deduction hurts on the coasts.

Get ready to lose a handful of your favorite tax breaks, thanks to the Republican tax bill.

The legislation, known as the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," nearly doubles the standard deduction from its current levels of $6,350 for singles and $12,700 for married couples who file jointly.

The legislation also does away with a raft of itemized deductions — breaks that filers can take for mortgage interest and other expenses to reduce their taxable income.

Currently, about 49 million taxpayers, or 28 percent of filers, itemize on their taxes, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. If the tax bill is approved and those nearly doubled standard deductions remain, it's likely that even fewer taxpayers will itemize.

Those consumers will miss these five tax breaks once it's time to file for the 2018 tax year.

State and local taxes

"The biggest [break] that's targeted is the state and local income and sales tax deduction," said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

In the bill, the GOP will allow filers to claim a deduction of up to $10,000, reflecting a combination of state and local income and sales taxes, plus property taxes.

"That cap is going to be a significant cost for many taxpayers in high-tax states," said Gleckman. "If you live in cities on the West Coast and in the Northeast, it will matter." (Click on chart below to enlarge. Note that some states without an income tax on wages and salaries do tax dividends and income.)

The GOP will also block filers from attempting to prepay their 2018 state income taxes in the current year.

Mortgage interest

Starting in 2018, homeowners can take a mortgage interest deduction on a loan of up to $750,000, down from the current law's limit of $1 million.

"If you have a mortgage of $800,000, you can deduct [interest] on the first $750,000," said Nicole M. Kaeding, an economist at the Tax Foundation.

Individuals who take out home equity loans will no longer be able to deduct that interest under the new bill.

This change is effective through the end of 2025, and homeowners on the coasts — who have the highest housing costs in the country — would be among the most affected. See below for a chart of home costs across the nation.

Casualty losses

Under current law, you may claim a deduction for personal losses you sustained in a given year. The total amount of your losses on personal property must exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

Starting in 2018, however, you can only claim a loss if it occurs in a disaster that's declared by the president. This provision expires after 2025.

"If you live in Houston, you're protected from the effects of the hurricane, but if your house is destroyed in a flood, you're out of luck," said Jeffrey Levine, a certified public accountant and director of financial planning at BluePrint Wealth Alliance in Garden City, New York.

Moving expenses

Are you thinking of moving across the country for a new career opportunity? If so, the tax bill won't let you deduct the cost of your move.

Currently, you can deduct reasonable moving expenses – exclusive of meals – if your new workplace is at least 50 miles further from your old home compared with where your old job was.

Workers who are relocating are also subject to a time test: Generally, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you've arrived at your new location.

Finally, the move needs to be related to the start of work in that place.

The suspension of the moving expense deduction kicks in for the 2018 tax year and expires at the end of 2025.


Under current law, alimony is deductible to the spouse making payments and is included as income to the recipient.

In the new bill, however, these payments are no longer deductible for the payor. Nor are the payments included in the recipient's gross income. Instead, the money used for alimony will be taxed at the payor's rates.

This provision is effective for divorce and separation agreements signed after Dec. 31, 2018.

A 2014 study by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that about half of the filings with an alimony deduction in 2010 had a mismatch between the income received and the deduction claimed.

Trump 'misplayed his hand' on taxes by not getting some Democratic support, Axios' Mike Allen says
Trump 'misplayed his hand' on taxes by not getting some Democratic support, Axios' Mike Allen says

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