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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

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Confirmed Cases: 117617

Reported Deaths: 3302
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
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Warren156156
Monroe153873
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Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
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Simpson123149
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Tate121039
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Winston85221
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Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 160380

Reported Deaths: 2713
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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