Reality Check: New tax plan boosts paychecks

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says about 90 percent of workers will be taking home more money.

Right now, people all across the country, including here in the mountains, are noticing an increase on their paychecks.

By Feb.15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says about 90 percent of workers will be taking home more money.

News 13 talked with local families, businesses and tax experts about the impact here in Western North Carolina.

Bigger paychecks

Gerald Hall has worked at Horizon Heating and Air in Hendersonville for three years.

He is the warehouse manager and his son now works there, too.

Like many, money is always tight, so he was excited to see his paycheck jump $15 a week.

"That sounds great, like to see more of it," said Hall.

His wife works in the medical field, and their kids are now too old for child tax deductions.

But, he's one of many seeing the benefits of the newly implemented Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

"That will help a whole lot, every little bit. We go week to week, so that will help a lot," said Hall.

How it works

Many people saw bigger paychecks, but by much different amounts.

So, we met with Jim Lowe from AVL Tax Professionals to figure out how the adjustment was calculated.

It all revolves around a new tax withholding chart from the IRS.

It shows the new rates employers must use when calculating your paycheck.

Lowe says it's all based on information from your W-4, and the biggest factors are your marital status, income and the number of exemptions.

"You're either going to get it in your pa check or your refund. So, if your paycheck doesn't change, if there is no difference in your paycheck, then most likely you'll see it in your refund next year," said Lowe.

Lowe explains the bump in your pay now reflects the projected increase in your tax savings in 2019.

He says some may see no change at all, while others could be hurt by certain aspects of the new plan, like the elimination of personal exemptions or new limits on tax deductions.

Keep in mind, most of the changes won't affect your tax return this year, but next year.

Lowe believes the change will benefit most families in the mountains.

"There's a reduction in rates across the board for all of us," said Lowe.

Lowe explains that the tax rates for most middle class families are dropping 3 percent next year.

The standard deductions are doubling for singles and married couples, and the child tax credit is doubling, as well.

Lowe entered examples into his software to show us how different types of families might be affected next year.

One showed a single person with one kid making about $21,000 a year saving about $800.

"That's christmas for a family like that," said Lowe.

Another example is a family of four with both parents working, making a combined $120,000 a year.

"Under this new tax plan, they'll save about $3,800," said Lowe.

But he says every family is different, and it's hard to predict the exact impact.

Small business impact

The new tax plan also promised big savings for small business owners.

We went back to Horizon Heating and Air to see how Hall's boss might be affected.

We were there as owner Dan Poeta sat down with his accountant to find out.

"His income, his taxable income could decrease by about 10 percent, but, because of the expanded tax brackets and expanded rates, he could see about a 25 percent savings on just the federal side. So, it could be a big opportunity to save some cash," said Sean Mitchell, Mitchell CPA.

Mitchell says the 20 percent tax deduction on net income will be good news for most companies.

"They've helped small businesses continue to manage their cash flow and grow through these tax breaks," said Mitchell.

For workers and management at Horizon, it's a welcome boost to the bottom line.

"There may be a 20-25 percent tax savings, that would be huge. It would be outstanding for the business and help us re-invest or employee bonuses, more charitable opportunities, 25 percent is a huge savings," said Poeta.

Employers have until Feb. 15 to adjust your paycheck.

The tax experts we talked to say it's a good time to check your w-4 in case you need to make any changes.

AVL Tax Professionals also posted more in depth information for small businesses.

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