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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Out With The Old Tax System, In With The New

April 16, 2018
Weekly Columns
This week, millions of Americans will file their taxes under an antiquated system for the last time. What was once an onerous task will become a more simple, easier process in the years to come. Filing taxes for the past 32 years was done under a complicated, invasive tax code. The burdensome process grew and evolved under the changes of society, and we are left today with a system that allowed for many loopholes and unfair tax brackets. Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is law, millions of Americans and thousands of businesses will truly begin to thrive financially.
 
The complex nature of the individual tax brackets had severely moved out of touch with regular tax filers in the past decades. Smaller paychecks make it harder for the average taxpayer starting a new job or for a family of five trying to sustain basic wellbeing. Now, larger paychecks and smaller taxes are no longer a far-fetched thought. When millions of hard-working Americans earn their paychecks this year, they will begin to see more money back into their pockets. Lower tax rates at all income levels and a doubled standard deduction ($12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families) will boost income and allow many to do things like buy a new home or save for college.
 
Along with reduced individual tax rates, there are more tax credits for families to apply for. The new code doubles the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000, supporting millions of parents trying to raise a family. Child and Dependent Care and Adoption tax credits are also preserved under the new law. To further help individuals, the law also eliminates the Obamacare individual mandate. This unfair tax will no longer force Americans to buy government-backed health insurance. Relief from the burden this tax brought on will allow people to have the freedom to choose their own health care.
 
Welcome announcements of employee bonuses have also become a large part of the good the new tax law has already done. Almost immediately, hundreds of companies awarded bonuses to thousands of their respective employees as a result of the new corporate tax rate. And it hasn’t slowed down. Companies big and small in Oklahoma have reaped the benefits of the new tax code, with many awarding bonuses, providing raises and expanding operations. Express Employment Professionals, based in Oklahoma City awarded $2,000 bonuses to its employees. Larger companies like Southwest Airlines and Lowe’s, which employ thousands of Oklahomans, also followed through with bonuses. In the long run, corporate investment back into the American economy will not only support the overall well-being of the economy, it will support families and consumers across the nation.
 
There is reason to celebrate Tax Day this year. As we say goodbye to the old tax system, we can anticipate the benefits of the new one next year. Even the IRS has updated its tax withholding calculator to reflect the new changes. Next year, Americans will have a fairer, simpler code to work with – making Tax Day a day we no longer have to dread.
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