2018 Tax Changes: What You Need to Know Before You File

2018 tax changes

There are some important 2018 tax changes. If you haven’t filed your taxes, yet, then make sure that you know about these changes. In some instances, adapting to the changes might save you money. Everyone wants to get the most they can back from their tax refund so don’t let the changes mess that up for you.

2018 Tax Changes Come From Tax Reform Bill

These 2018 tax changes are coming as a result of the Tax Reform Bill. It is better known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This bill passed in late 2017. However, the changes didn’t go into effect right away. That’s why you didn’t notice it last year when you filed your 2017 taxes.

It’s time now for those changes to go into effect, though, so it’s important to review the bill. There are changes that impact individuals, businesses, tax-exempt entities, and governments. However, we’ll only be looking at the 2018 tax changes for individuals in this article.

Overall, the Changes Should Make Filing Taxes Easier

One of the biggest changes is that the standard deduction has been expanded. Therefore, people who previously took itemized deductions may now be able to get as much (or more) money back just using the standard deduction. As a result, this simplifies taxes.

Many other deductions have been taken away. For example, you can no longer take a deduction for job searches or moving expenses. Therefore, you’ll probably benefit from just taking the standard deduction.

That said, if you do your own taxes, you may find that you need to figure out your itemized deductions first. That’s the only sure way to calculate whether you get more back from the standard deduction or not. Therefore, it might not save you as much time as it should.

If you want to save time and are willing to take the chance that you may or may not save money, then just take the standard deduction. In most cases, it’ll be the right thing to do. The standard deduction has almost doubled, which means that most people won’t save money with itemized deductions.

On the other hand, these 2018 tax changes are designed to last until at least 2025. Therefore, you might want to do the math this year, see if the standard deduction truly makes sense for you, then use that information when filing in future years.

The Changes Benefit Low and Mid-Income Filers

The people who benefit the most from these changes are those who are low-income or middle-income. They are most likely to get more back from the new standard deduction. Tax Foundation reports that the use of itemized deductions will drop more than 70% for people with an income between $10,000 and $50,000. Furthermore, it will drop at least 63% for people earning between $50,000 and $200,000. Therefore, if you earn less than $200,000 then chances are that you benefit from the new standard deduction.

Additional 2018 Tax Changes

Here are some other important things to know:

  • Fewer people will need to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax Liability.
  • The maximum credit for the Child Tax Credit has increased so it pays to have kids.
  • Furthermore, there’s a new additional credit for other types of dependents.
  • Tax brackets have changed, generally lowering marginal tax rates.
  • If you are self-employed or a small business owner, there are additional changes to learn about.

There’s one more important thing to note. Due to the 2018 tax changes, many people had less money taken out of their paychecks this year than in years past. If that’s true for you, then your refund will likely be smaller than years past as well. Even though you may pay less in taxes, you get less back because you paid in less.

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Should We Tax Robots?

tax robots

Should we tax robots?

The question sounds a little bit absurd. After all, a robot isn’t a person. Therefore, it doesn’t file taxes. Therefore, charging robots an income tax seems silly.

Moreover, it’s complicated. Your vacuum cleaner might be a robot. However, you obviously wouldn’t tax it, right? So where would we even draw the line?

Despite how silly it might sound, an argument can be made that we should tax robots. As more and more jobs go to robots, the country could benefit from just that move.

The Main Argument To Tax Robots

Computers are getting increasingly smarter. They are also replacing more and more jobs. As automation increases across many diverse industries, some people are starting to argue that it’s financially sensible to tax automation.

The main reason to tax robots is so that the government gets that money. Theoretically, at least, they spend it on things that we as a society need. Currently, the US government collects about $1.5 trillion dollars through income taxes. They collect another $1 trillion from payroll taxes. If the jobs go to the robots, then the amount goes down, unless we tax robots that are taking those jobs.

If people don’t find new jobs to replace the ones taken over by robots, then they will need to rely on the government even more. If we don’t tax automation, then there will be less money for the government to provide for those needs.

Robots Aren’t Necessarily Productive

There’s another reason that we should tax robots. Currently, untaxed robots may actually decrease business productivity. However, there are incentives to automation, so many businesses opt to use robots even though it might not make the most sense in terms of efficiency. If we tax robots, then the businesses have to look more carefully at why they are automating and whether or not it makes the most sense.

In other words, using robots should increase productivity in a business. However, that’s often not the case. However, since it saves the company money, a business might automate anyway.

Companies can avoid taxes and other costs if they get rid of employees. A robot costs less than a human to do the same job. However, if we tax robots, then we close the gap between those costs. If the human costs about the same as the robot but is more productive then the company will likely opt for the human.

At the moment, it’s more cost-effective for many companies to use robots. In fact, there are many different types of subsidies that encourage businesses to fire humans in order to hire robots. It benefits the business, but may not benefit society overall. Taking the robots would level the playing field, so to speak, which should be better for everyone.

Will We Tax Robots?

The truth is that we won’t necessarily charge robots taxes anytime in the near future. While it’s been done to some extent in other countries, such as South Korea, it’s a complicated process. Defining what a robot is and determining how to tax it are complex issues.

However, it would be possible to make changes to the subsidies. In other words, while we might not tax robots, we certainly don’t have to offer tax incentives for companies to have robots.

Moreover, the government could make other tax changes that even things out. For example, they might alter the way that companies are allowed to report depreciation of robots. Alternatively, they might have to finance the payroll taxes of employees whose jobs are eliminated in favor of using robots. Only time will tell how this will play out.

What do you think – should we tax robots?

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Source: New York Times

Finding the Best Vacuum Cleaner under $200

best vacuum cleaner under $200

I’ve been wondering lately about what’s the best vacuum cleaner under $200. I had recently researched the best vacuum cleaner under $100. However, I got to thinking about it, and I wondered at what point a vacuum cleaner goes from sufficient to great.

Therefore, I started doing some research into the options available in the $100 to $200 range. If I can find a really stellar vacuum in that range, then it might be worth the extra cost. However, if I can’t, then it makes more sense to just stick with the vacuum cleaner that’s under $100.

The Process of Choosing the Best Vacuum Cleaner Under $200

I decided to use the same approach to this research as I did when looking for a cheaper vacuum cleaner. Therefore, I went straight to Amazon to start my search. First, I did a broad search for vacuums. Then I limited my selections to those that have free Prime shipping.

Next, I scrolled down the left-hand side of the screen where the filters are. I selected only “home and kitchen” vacuums. After all, I don’t need an industrial vacuum cleaner. Finally, scrolling down a bit more, I entered the minimum and maximum price. I went with $101 – $200 so that I could find the best vacuum cleaner under $200 while ruling out the ones I previously searched for under $100.

The Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Under $200

I immediately noticed that I have a lot more options if I increase my price range to $200. Specifically, I’m now able to see a lot of robotic vacuums, which weren’t an option at the lower price point. I’ve never owned a robot vacuum, but I’ve enjoyed seeing them in other people’s homes. It might be worth a shot. So, I looked into the different option.

I immediately noticed the Coredy Robot Vacuum Cleaner. The price is just under $200. However, at the time that I searched, they were running a promotion for a $50 off coupon. It’s always worth looking at big deals like that, so it caught my attention. It’s an extra-thin, sleek, self-charging robot vacuum that’s reportedly quiet and good for cleaning up dog fur. If I get a robot vacuum, it sounds like a good one to go with.

However, I also noticed the ILIFE V5s Pro Robot Vacuum Mop Cleaner with Water Tank. It has a mop function, which actually makes a lot of sense for my home, since I only have carpet in one room of the apartment. You can remove the mop feature when you want to clean the carpeted areas. It’s priced at $179, and it could be another great option.

The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners Under $200

The other main difference between the $100 and $200 price cap is that the higher price point offers more options for upright vacuum cleaners. While there were a few good choices under $100, there is definitely a lot more to choose from if I go up to a $200 limit.

Upgraded Version of an Old Favorite

Mostly, you get extra little features. They may not be necessary, but they sure could be convenient. For example, there’s a Eureka NEU202 PowerSpeed Lightweight Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner available under $100. In fact, it’s one of the best options for an upright vacuum at that price point. However, if you purchase a more advanced version of the same vacuum, then you get a little bit more for the added price. For $144 your additions include:

  • 7″ Crevice Tool
  • Automatic Cord Rewind
  • Dusting Brush
  • Pet hair Accessory Tool
  • Upholstery Tool

I don’t personally need all of those extras for my home. Therefore, it would be better on the budget to get the similar vacuum priced under $100. However, if I had a larger home, then those conveniences might be worth the cost.

Another Good Upright Vacuum Cleaner

That said, I did see another upright vacuum cleaner that looks really good. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 is priced under $150. It has a crevice tool, dusting brush, and pet power brush. The canister has a lift-away feature so that you can easily reach hard-to-reach areas even though it’s a full-sized vacuum. Plus it has a HEPA filter and sealing technology that’s supposed to keep all the allergens inside the vacuum. 

There’s actually another version of that same vacuum that’s a little bit pricier, right under $200. It has all of the same features and more. Specifically, it has Zero-M Anti-Hair Wrap Technology. This means that it self-cleans, removing hair from itself as it picks it up. I have long hair that’s always getting trapped in a vacuum, so this might actually be worth the added cost for me.

Do you have a good recommendation for the best vacuum cleaner under $200? Share in the comments!

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