It’s 8 a.m. on crisp, fall Saturday morning. Steve and Melinda have just pulled into the local sports complex with their two middle-schoolers, Jack and Hayley. The kids jump out of the car, running off to join their respective teams. Most of the time, Jack and Hayley’s games have staggered start times, but not this morning. On mornings like this, Steve and Melinda divide and conquer—each of them spending the first half of the game with a different child, and they switch at half time.
A morning full of soccer games is the typical start to the Smith family’s weekends, followed by grocery shopping and other household chores. While Steve and Melinda are financially secure, making a combined $59,000 per year means their budget is tight. It’s enough that they don’t struggle with everyday expenses, but they haven’t been able to put away enough money to give them some breathing room. Steve and Melinda want to create a rainy-day fund in the event of unexpected household expenses—like if one of their 15-year-old kitchen appliances decides to go on the fritz.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was written with families like the Smiths in mind. With lower tax rates, a nearly doubled standard deduction, the Family Flexibility Credit, and an enhanced Child Tax Credit ($1,600 per child), they will get a $1,182 tax cut. That means Steve and Melinda’s total federal tax bill will go from $1,582 to only $400. This extra $1,182 as a result of our tax bill will not only allow them to create that rainy-day fund, but will give them some much-needed breathing room financially.