Congress is Rethinking the State and Local Taxes (SALT) Deduction Limitation

Dhruv Panchal

CPA | Tax Supervisor

In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) introduced limiting state and local taxes (including real estate taxes) to $10,000. Prior to this legislation, state and local taxes were usually deducted in full on individual income tax returns. As a result of this legislation, many Americans, especially in high tax states or those owning their own business, lost the ability to itemize their deductions. 

Many states have worked around this limitation by allowing owners of passthrough entity businesses the ability to deduct their share of state taxes on the business return itself, reducing total profit and thereby giving a back-door deduction for business owners. This is commonly referred to as a pass-through entity tax (PTET) deduction and many states have allowed it, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. While this back-door deduction is a benefit for business owners that have profitable pass-through entities, it doesn’t benefit those without businesses or those living in states with higher state taxes, such as California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Illinois. 

Change of Heart

This legislation has been controversial since it was introduced and is expected to sunset (expire) in 2026. The current 118th US Congress, primarily the House of Representatives, has three bills before it that would liberalize the current itemized deduction limitation on state and local taxes. 

What are the Bills?

In short, the three bills have different outcomes. One bill proposes to eliminate the limitation altogether, which would result in the full deduction of state and local taxes paid during the year. The second bill proposes to increase the limitation from the current $10,000 to $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for married filing jointly. The final bill proposes to modestly increase the cap for married filing jointly to $20,000 but retain the current $10,000 limitation on single filers. 

What’s Next?

Congress has squabbled over many policies and bills during the recent years, and to expect a clear decision anytime soon does not seem likely. As taxes have become politicized, the outcome of the full repeal of the SALT limitation prior to 2026 does not seem likely. However, we will continue to monitor the status of the other two bills which would at least raise the cap on the limitation of state and local taxes. The outcome of either bill progressing significantly could bring about a substantial change in limitations.

While any proposals in Congress, especially tax changes, can cause confusion, Cray Kaiser is here to help you navigate potential pitfalls and opportunities. Please contact us at 630-953-4900 with any questions.

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