The state and local tax (SALT) deduction allows taxpayers to deduct state and local tax payments on their federal tax returns. The new tax law, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, instituted a cap on the SALT deduction. Starting from the 2018 tax year, the maximum SALT deduction that taxpayers are able to claim is up to $10,000. In contrast, before the new tax law, there was no limit. This blog focuses on what the reduced deduction means for taxpayers, especially in high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey. However, let’s first understand how the state and local tax deduction works.
What is the state and local tax deduction?
Taxpayers who itemize their deductions, and therefore don’t take the standard deduction, can deduct what they’ve paid in certain state and local taxes. The SALT deduction includes property, income and sales taxes. To be more specific, a taxpayer who itemizes can deduct property taxes but the taxpayer needs to choose between deducting income and sales taxes. Taxpayers of states with high income taxes typically opt to deduct their state and local income taxes while taxpayers of states with high sales taxes typically deduct their sales taxes. Generally, taxpayers deduct property and income taxes using the SALT deduction.
Nationwide, 30 percent of the taxpayers used the SALT deduction, while the average SALT deduction was $12,540 in the 2016 tax year.
How will the reduced SALT affect taxpayers by each state?
Starting with the 2018 tax year, taxpayers’ SALT deductions are limited to $10,000. However, especially in high-tax states, itemizing taxpayers typically pay an amount higher than this limit. Let’s take a closer look at where most taxpayers claim the SALT deduction and how much they deduct on average.
NAR calculated the percentage of taxpayers that used the SALT deduction and the average deduction for 50 states and DC. In the 2016 tax year, the states with the highest percentage of taxpayers using the SALT deduction are in the Northeast and West regions. The percentage claiming the deduction ranged from 17 percent in West Virginia to 46 percent in Maryland in 2016. In the meantime, the average deduction ranged from $5,130 in Alaska to $21,780 in New York.
For instance, more than 40 percent of the taxpayers claimed the SALT deduction in California, New York and New Jersey while the average deductions in these three states were all over $18,000.
SALT deduction by income level
While the SALT deduction is used across all income levels, the amount of SALT deductions by lower, middle, and upper income taxpayers provides insight into how those taxpayers benefit. Nationwide, almost 40 percent of taxpayers earning between $50,000 to $75,000 per year and more than 70 percent of taxpayers earning $100,000 to $200,000 per year used the SALT deduction. For income brackets above $200,000, almost all of those upper income taxpayers claimed the deduction.
When looking at the total amount deducted by income bracket, it is clear that the SALT deduction benefits taxpayers across all brackets. Specifically, taxpayers earning more than $100,000 deducted above $10,000 (the new limit) on average. These taxpayers represent 14 percent of all taxpayers nationwide.
For more detail information and to scroll across the various parts of the U.S., see below: