Wondering how the potential Trump tax plan might affect you? The majority of our clients are American entrepreneurs who are living overseas. Many of them utilize pass through entities such as LLC’s and S Corps to run their business. Here is an excellent article from CNBC that details some of the increased advantages that the Trump tax plan may give these pass through entities.
There has been a fair amount of discussion about President-elect Donald Trump‘s tax plan, and how it will not only add roughly $6 trillion to the national debt, but also how the benefits will most likely accrue to the top 10 percent of all wage earners.
The tax plan, as it is currently constructed and if passed, would take the overall number of tax rates down to three, cap deductions for married couples, filing jointly, at $200,000 and make some other alterations to the code.
It is also assumed that corporate tax rates will be reduced from the current 35 percent, down to 15 percent, while the 3.8 percent surtax on capital gains and dividends, received by wealthy individuals, will be eliminated altogether.
That’s all well and good, if it simplifies the code and lowers taxes for all. I’m not certain, however, that it will work out that way.
There is an under-discussed and more interesting wrinkle in the new proposals that merits deeper exploration.
It is true that individual tax rates will go down, to some extent for almost all taxpayers.
However individuals like me, whose income flows through so-called “pass-through entities,” like S-Corp, partnerships or LLCs, may receive an even bigger break than has generally been discussed.
“In Donald Trump’s federal financial disclosure forms, he was shown to be the owner of over 550 limited liability corporations, or LLCs! He may stand to gain bigly from his own tax policy.”
I was listening to a presentation by Andy Friedman, the founder and principal of The Washington Update, last week.
In his very thorough analysis of the Trump plan, he noted that anyone who is an owner of one of these vehicles would be taxed on its income at the new 15 percent corporate tax rate and not at the graduated individual rates also set forth in the President-elect’s proposals.
Let me make this more simple.
Currently, individuals who set up an S-Corp, LLC, or even sole-proprietorship (which is unincorporated), receive payments for their labors through these so-called “pass-through entities.”
Under the current law, if your pass-through entity earns $1 million, and your deduction and expenses total $400,000, your adjusted gross income would be $600,000.
You would then be taxed at individual rates so that the blended rate under the current code would equal roughly 33 percent of your AGI, or about $220,000.
Under the new plan, there is a yuuuge benefit for folks who legitimately use these entities.
If the Trump plan were to go through intact, and your AGI totals $600,000 after expenses and deductions, you would pay tax at the corporate rate of 15 percent, cutting your federal tax bill to about $90,000.
Your effective tax rate would fall by more than 50 percent! You would save roughly $130,000 under the new plan.
Oh, and by the way, in Donald Trump’s federal financial disclosure forms, he was shown to be the owner of over 550 limited liability corporations, or LLCs! He may stand to gain bigly from his own tax policy.
This new tax code would be called a “regressive tax” as low-to-middle income earners will receive very little benefit from the Trump tax plan. Some already pay little or no taxes at all but those who do pay tax will receive only nominal cuts in their bills.
However, they would likely bear much of the burden of future deficits through cuts in programs and services.
I have been roundly criticized for opposing a Trump presidency, which I clearly did against my own self-interest since I would be a beneficiary of this new tax bonanza.
The greatest irony of the election may very well be that the people who voted for Donald Trump will benefit the least from his policies while those who opposed his election will reap the greatest rewards.
Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.
For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.