President Trump campaigned on the promise of sweeping tax reform, and on December 20, 2017, Congress passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and made his promise a reality. This bill entails a number of changes to the U.S. tax code that will impact both corporations and individuals.
The announcement of this tax bill provided a short-term boost to the economy, but the long-term market effects are yet to be seen. The Joint Committee on Taxation believes the bill will boost growth the total size of the US GDP by 0.8 percentage points over the first decade, while Goldman Sachs is estimating GDP growth will increase 0.3 percentage points above their baseline over the next two years.
Regardless of how much or how little economic growth we can expect in the coming years, the big question is, what exactly does this bill mean for you and your financial plan? In a nutshell, it lowers tax rates for individuals and corporations, increases the child tax credit, doubles the standard deduction, and caps or eliminates several deductions. Here’s what we can expect from this bill.
How Will It Affect Your Household?
It’s estimated that around 80% of people will see a tax cut in the first year of the legislation, and the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average person will see a tax cut of $1,610 in 2018. (1) However, the amount will vary based on income bracket. In general, the tax bill favors wealthier Americans, offering more tax breaks the more you earn, with fewer benefits to lower and middle class Americans. The TPC estimates that 65.8% of the total federal tax benefit will go to the top 20% of earners.
As a result of an increased after-tax income, some economists believe this may boost consumer confidence. However, the after-tax income increase may not be enough to see an economic change.
How Will It Impact Big Businesses?
Big businesses will significantly benefit from the tax bill, namely with the federal corporate tax rate dropping from 35% to 21%. Companies will likely see a serious boost in their profits, with JPMorgan estimating that this bill could boost the earnings per share of S&P 500 companies by $10 per share in 2018. (2)
Additionally, some experts estimate that giant companies like Google will save several billion dollars in 2018 due to the new tax code. With these tax cuts, businesses could use these savings to increase wages, pay down debt, invest, or pay for capital expenditures. In fact, Apple has already pledged to bring billions of overseas dollars back to the U.S., pay taxes on it and invest it back into the economy. (3) They are planning to create 20,000 new jobs and issue stock grants of $2,500 to most of their employees, all due to the tax changes. (4)
What Does It Mean For The Market?
Since large companies benefit from reduced taxes, their value will be pushed higher on Wall Street. The market was up in early trading after news of the bill. Many experts believe that gains are not already priced into the market and that it could continue to go up significantly through 2018.
Small and mid-cap stocks, consumer staples, telecoms, financials, and industrials pay the highest tax rate, so with the new tax cuts, values of these companies could go up in the short term. Many experts believe that stocks will rise as a result of the news, with the markets already seeing much activity. Experts at JPMorgan believe stocks could even rise 5% after the bill officially passes. (5) However, they also anticipate volatility in the new year, which we experienced in the early February correction.
Where Does This Leave You?
This tax bill is brand new, so there is still much to learn and understand before we will know how it will impact households and businesses in the near and far future. No one is sure exactly how the economy will behave in the coming months or years, but many experts expect a positive impact.
For our clients, your portfolio has been built with tax reform in mind and we are continually monitoring the markets so we can make appropriate changes if needed. As we move throughout 2018, I’ll be discussing with you how the changes in tax law will specifically effect you and what moves might be needed to enhance your financial picture. If you have any questions, call or email our office.
If your friends or family are concerned with so many potential swings in the markets, now is a good time for them to review their financial plan to see how their strategies may be impacted by this tax bill and whether or not it’s appropriate to make adjustments. We’re never too busy to help someone you care about, so feel free to put them in touch with our office. Book a meeting with us today by calling 856-888-1744!
Gregory M. Hart, CFP® is the founder and managing director of Haddon Wealth Management, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm that provides comprehensive wealth management for clients nationwide. He seeks to address clients’ many financial needs in an integrated investment and retirement plan, while also providing a year-by-year cash flow analysis, tax-minimization estate planning, social security decision analysis, education planning, and more. Based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, he works with clients throughout the Delaware Valley. To learn more, connect with Greg on LinkedIn or call 856-888-1744.