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Your tax questions, answered

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Posted: Dec 22, 2017 1:16 PM
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 1:16 PM

We asked CNN readers and viewers to share their questions about the massive tax plan that's about to become law, and received more than 2,000 questions.

Lots of people asked us how the new law would affect them. That's a more complicated question than it might seem. There are a million factors that determine what your tax bill will be (well, not really a million, but you get it). To figure that out, our tax calculator is a good place to start.

But to really understand what the bill means for you, you have to dig in. We'll be here to help: Our coverage of the tax overhaul will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

To start, here are answers to some initial questions about mortgages, student loans, when the new law kicks in and more.

When will the tax law go into effect?

First off: The soon-to-be tax law will not apply to your 2017 taxes -- the ones you have to file this coming April.

Most provisions of the new law affecting individuals and businesses go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. For instance, new tax brackets take effect on January 1 of next year, as will the new standard deductions.

But not all of them do. Changes to tax deductions for alimony payments, for instance, will kick in for divorces that happen after December 31, 2018. And the penalty for not having health insurance will be eliminated in 2019.

And some provisions affecting individuals will be very short-term. The bill expands the medical expense deduction just for 2018 and 2019, for example.

Related: New tax brackets for 2018

I'm confused as to what exactly expires in 2025.

Most of the corporate provisions are permanent. But most of the changes that affect individuals will expire after Dec. 31, 2025, or 8 years from now. Whether or not they're extended beyond then will be determined by a future Congress.

Related: What's in the GOP's final tax plan

How does this new bill change the AMT calculation?

It doesn't change the calculation -- it's still complicated under the new bill for individuals. So much for simplification! But it does raise the amount of income that would be exempt when you calculate taxable income under AMT rules. For singles the exemption level will increase to $70,300 -- up from $54,300. And for married couples filing jointly it increases to $109,400 -- up from $84,500.

Is my mortgage deduction the same as before?

Short answer: No.

Under the new law, if you take out a new mortgage you will only be allowed to deduct the interest on debt up to $750,000, down from $1 million today. Keep in mind that homeowners who already have a mortgage will not be affected by the change.

Related: Homeowners: Here's what's in the tax bill for you

Homeowners should also know that taxpayers may no longer be able to deduct all state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. Instead, the legislation allows individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes and state and local income or sales taxes.

You will still be able to exclude up to $500,000 (or $250,000 for single filers) from capital gains when you sell your primary home, as long as you've lived there for two of the past five years.

Is the $10,000 limit for state and property tax deductions really the same for a single filer as for joint filers?

Yes. Under the new legislation, regardless of whether you're single or married, you're not allowed to deduct more than $10,000 of property taxes and state and local income or sales taxes.

What will happen with the student loan interest deduction?

The student loan interest deduction remains the same, so taxpayers will still be allowed to claim a deduction of up to $2,500 for the interest they pay on student loans each year.

Related: Tax bill and your tuition: Here's what to expect

Is the tuition waiver still in place for graduate students?

Yes. The bill spares graduate students from having to pay income tax on tuition waivers -- something that was proposed in the House version of the bill.

Is the child care credit the same?

The GOP's tax overhaul bill doubles the current child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child under age 17. It also lets parents collect a refund of up to $1,400,-up from the current $1,000, if-the credit is larger than their federal income tax liability.

Related: Changes to the child tax credit: What it means for families

The credit will be available to high earners for the first time. It raises the income threshold under which filers may claim the full credit to $200,000 for single parents -- up from $75,000 -- and to $400,000 for married couples -- up from $110,000.

Related: 34 things you need to know about the incoming tax law

Please explain the pass-through provision as it pertains to partnerships and LLCs.

We'd love to, but even tax experts are still trying to figure out all the implications. This is one of the most complex changes in the new law.

Generally speaking, though, the tax burden on owners, partners and shareholders of S-corporations, LLCs and partnerships -- who pay their share of the business' taxes through their individual tax returns -- will be lowered thanks to a 20% deduction.

The 20% deduction will not be available to anyone in a service business -- unless their taxable income is less than $315,000 if married (or $157,500 if single).

Is a copy of the tax bill made open to the public?

Yes! You can read it here. If you have more questions, let us know.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 517138

Reported Deaths: 10306
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35086559
DeSoto33512432
Hinds32826644
Jackson24938392
Rankin22621405
Lee16564245
Madison14986283
Jones14195248
Forrest13865260
Lauderdale12343323
Lowndes11401193
Lamar10715140
Pearl River9762244
Lafayette8898143
Hancock7854132
Washington7562169
Oktibbeha7246138
Monroe7106179
Pontotoc7071110
Warren6915179
Panola6815136
Neshoba6762210
Marshall6751142
Bolivar6484151
Union647099
Alcorn5969108
Pike5953157
Lincoln5550136
George511380
Prentiss511086
Tippah498483
Itawamba4916107
Scott479599
Tate4790118
Adams4789125
Leflore4765144
Copiah458995
Simpson4587117
Yazoo458692
Wayne444372
Covington435895
Sunflower4338106
Marion4313112
Coahoma4263111
Leake414491
Newton396482
Tishomingo390294
Grenada3799109
Stone366466
Attala342290
Jasper341667
Chickasaw320867
Winston319092
Clay314378
Clarke302095
Calhoun289550
Holmes273789
Smith271452
Yalobusha246547
Tallahatchie233153
Greene225549
Walthall222266
Lawrence221142
Perry214656
Amite210657
Webster207248
Noxubee188943
Montgomery182857
Carroll176341
Jefferson Davis175043
Tunica164139
Benton153539
Kemper145641
Choctaw138027
Claiborne134939
Humphreys132639
Franklin127130
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106539
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 849409

Reported Deaths: 16199
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1165042004
Mobile744951384
Madison53605739
Shelby38474373
Baldwin38236590
Tuscaloosa36225644
Montgomery34599784
Lee25712264
Calhoun22652520
Morgan22569411
Etowah20084521
Marshall18878318
Houston17806426
St. Clair16987359
Limestone16220222
Cullman16183306
Elmore15967295
Lauderdale15126308
Talladega14275302
DeKalb13099271
Walker12202380
Blount10803193
Autauga10566157
Jackson10237196
Coffee9447192
Colbert9396210
Dale9052192
Tallapoosa7291202
Russell711965
Chilton7101171
Covington6985197
Escambia6972146
Franklin6379108
Chambers5815142
Marion5451132
Dallas5307210
Pike5135109
Clarke485986
Lawrence4857130
Winston4804111
Geneva4658137
Bibb436795
Barbour370880
Butler3446101
Marengo342593
Monroe338666
Randolph338567
Pickens335590
Fayette332785
Henry321566
Cherokee321264
Hale320289
Crenshaw262278
Washington256952
Cleburne255460
Lamar253755
Clay253169
Macon246667
Conecuh193962
Coosa186248
Lowndes178468
Wilcox178338
Bullock152845
Perry141940
Sumter139841
Greene130845
Choctaw94928
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