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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

 

The saying “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails” (Dolly Parton) might reflect an appropriate attitude regarding two changes: the new driver’s license and the 2018 tax changes. Generally, I like to understand things beforehand; so, I’ve been reading about how these two laws will affect many of us in the near future.

 

New Drivers’ Licenses

 

Since I let my passport expire, I’m leaning toward getting the new travel driver’s license in case I have to use an airplane to get somewhere within the U.S. If you haven’t decided which type of license you prefer, you still have plenty of time. Some basic information includes the following:

 

·      By October 2020, Kentuckians will obtain new drivers’ licenses. Drivers will switch to one of two new licenses: the standard license or the travel license. The standard license will provide the same identification functions with which Kentuckians are currently accustomed: to drive, to make purchases, and to vote. In addition to these identification functions, the new travel license will allow the person to fly within the United States and will serve as an ID for military bases. However, people will also be able to fly within the United States by using the new standard license and a valid U.S. passport.

 

·         The following documents will likely be requested: proof of identity (birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, or residence card), social security number (social security card or current W2), proof of residence (any document that has your address on it), and only if applicable, proof of name change.

 

Since the new licenses are not yet available, we have time to weigh the two options. Foradditional information, visit https://drive.ky.gov/confidentky/Pages/default.aspx. Meanwhile, our current drivers’ licenses work fine – for now.

 

2018 Tax Changes

 

Last spring, I did not focus on learning much about the 2018 tax changes. After all, I was still gathering information from 2017 so I could file my income taxes. And tax law is decidedly way outside my comfort zone. However, recently I read an online article (February 2018; https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/16/10-tax-changes-you-need-to-know-for-2018...), and based on that article, some changes include the following:

 

1.      Those married and filing jointly will have an increased standard deduction of $24,000, up from the $13,000 it would have been under previous law. Single taxpayers and those who are married and file separately now have a $12,000 standard deduction, up from the $6,500 it would have been for this year prior to the reform. For heads of households, the deduction will be $18,000, up from $9,550.

 

2.      The child tax credit has been raised to $2,000 per qualifying child, those who are under 17, up from $1,000. A $500 credit is available for dependents who do not get the $2,000 credit.

 

3.      The itemized deduction for state and local taxes is limited to $10,000 for both income and property taxes paid during the year.

 

Furthermore, as Kelly Phillips Erb (Forbes) explained, “The new (tax withholding) tables reflect the increase in the standard deduction, repeal of personal exemptions and changes in tax rates and brackets” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2018/01/11/irs-releases-ne...).  Finally, a Yahoo Finance article (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/complete-guide-2018-tax-changes-115200441...) included the following comment: “…the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 94% of households will claim the standard deduction in 2018, up from about 70% now.” Because circumstances vary, I can see how the new tax law could make the 2018 income-tax-filing process an ‘adventure.’

 

In conclusion, Sean Hampton said, “Victory is the child of preparation and determination,” (https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/preparation). Both of these laws have some good built into them. And the negative impacts of each can be offset by preparation. My preparation when dealing with these changes will be to determinedly adjust my sails.

 

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