It has not received much coverage, but president-elect Donald Trump's tax plan does away with allowing single working parents to file as head-of-household — a longstanding benefit for single working parents. This would be a considerable hardship for many lower income families.
With all the chaos surrounding the transition to a Trump administration, it is easy to lose sight of even major policy developments. Rutgers University Professor Brittney Cooper flagged a particularly significant issue that has received little attention:
So everyone is clear that Trump's tax plan doesn't allow single parents to file as head-of-household anymore right? https://t.co/953Z7apLRk
— Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk) November 15, 2016
Eliminating the head-of-household filing status is a major change, with potentially severe consequences for some who currently use it. Roberton Williams at Forbes lays out what it means:
First, he would eliminate the head-of-household filing status, thus requiring single parents to file as individuals. By itself, that boosts tax rates for single parents at most income ranges.
Second, although Trump would boost the standard deduction, he would eliminate personal and dependent exemptions, raising taxable income for all single parents who do not itemize. Under current law in 2017, a single parent with one child can take a $9,400 standard deduction and two $4,100 exemptions, thus reducing her taxable income by $17,600. Trump would replace that combination with a $15,150 standard deduction, making $2,450 more income subject to tax. And bigger families would get hit even harder—their taxable income under Trump’s plan would go up by $4,100 for each additional child, relative to current law.
Finally—and most consequentially—Trump would collapse the current tax schedule from seven rates to three. That may seem less complicated but it would actually raise rates at some income levels. The result: Higher taxes for many heads of household.
The article goes on to explain that a single parent would be no worse off if they made $15,150 or less, and would not see any benefit unless their income reached $560,000 a year. But: “Trump’s tax rates would increase a single parent’s tax bill at almost every AGI level between $15,150 and about $560,000.”
Single working parents are apparently one more set of people who are not of much concern in Trump’s America.