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Trump-era TCJA tax cuts set to expire after 2025. Here’s what to know

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wildwood Beach on May 11, 2024 in Wildwood, New Jersey. 

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Individual rates

“The biggest tax cut that’s expiring is the lower rates and wider brackets,” said Erica York, senior economist and research director with the Tax Foundation’s Center for Federal Tax Policy.

The TCJA reduced federal income tax rates across the board, with the top rate falling to 37% from 39.6%.

Without updates from Congress, the individual rates will revert to pre-TCJA levels after 2025. That would return the federal income tax rates to 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.

The standard deduction could fall

When filing taxes, you claim the standard deduction or itemized deductions, whichever is greater. Both options reduce your taxable income.

Some itemized deductions include charitable gifts, a certain percentage of medical expenses, and state and local taxes, or SALT, a tax break that TCJA capped at $10,000.

The TCJA nearly doubled the standard deduction, which made it less likely that filers would itemize tax breaks. That could change after 2025 if the standard deduction reverts to 2017 levels, experts say.

Before 2018, about 70% of taxpayers claimed the standard deduction, compared with 90% in tax year 2020, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The $10,000 limit on the SALT deduction was enacted to help pay for TCJA changes — and it’s been a key issue for some lawmakers in high-tax states such as California, New Jersey and New York.

The SALT cap is scheduled to expire in 2025. But “there are problems with the politics of the cap” because a higher limit primarily benefits higher earners, Gleckman said.

The child tax credit could drop

The ‘biggest issue’ for high-net-worth Americans 

There are also higher federal gift and estate tax exemptions through 2025, which allow more ultra-wealthy Americans to transfer tax-free assets to the next generation. 

In 2024, the tax-free limits on gifts during life or death rose to $13.61 million per individual or $27.22 million for spouses. But those limits will drop by about half in 2026 without new laws from Congress.

[It’s] the biggest issue that we’re talking with clients about right now.

Robert Dietz

National director of tax research at Bernstein Private Wealth Management

“[It’s] the biggest issue that we’re talking with clients about right now,” Robert Dietz, national director of tax research at Bernstein Private Wealth Management in Minneapolis, previously said in an interview with CNBC.

The looming change to the higher exemption has prompted some ultra-wealthy Americans to make lifetime gifts to remove assets from their estate, experts say.

However, lower federal gift and estate tax exemptions wouldn’t impact most filers. Less than 0.2% of people who died in 2023 were expected to have a taxable estate, according to estimates from the Tax Policy Center.

Taxes will have to go up eventually to tackle the deficit, says Wolfe Research's Tobin Marcus

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