Tax experts estimate that 40% of American households will not pay federal income tax for 2022. Comparatively, about 56% of households saw no federal tax liability in 2021, down from 60% in 2020. What’s the reason for the dramatic shift in percentages? During the height of the pandemic, millions suffered job losses and sought unemployment relief, qualifying them for temporary tax exemption.
Now the projection for 2022 is even lower than pre-pandemic levels, which ranged between 42% to 43%. Experts say this actually reflects a strengthening labor force and reduced unemployment levels, coming in at just 3.5% in September. On the other hand, inflation continues to rise, inciting fears of an oncoming recession.
The standard deduction for this tax year is set at $12,950 for single filers and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly. Americans who earn less than the standard deduction do not owe federal income tax. However, even if you fall below this threshold, filing a tax return may still be wise in case you qualify for refundable or partially refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.
Tax Trader Status remains intact even with recent changes to tax law. Those who buy and sell securities for a living can qualify for trader tax status (TTS), which provides benefits such as writing off losses, business expenses, and employee benefit deductions for retirement plans.
Those who qualify for TTS may be able to take a Section 475 election (mark-to-market accounting method for dealers in securities). This election allows traders to treat changes in the value of securities as ordinary income or loss instead of capital gain or loss. With a Section 475 election, these securities can be exempt from wash-sale loss rules and the $3,000 capital loss limitation introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). TCJA’s “excess business loss” limitation capped traders’ ability to carry forward their losses at 80% of the subsequent year’s taxable income. This limit applies to tax years 2021 through 2028.
Through Section 475, securities may also be eligible for the 20% deduction on qualified business income (QBI). This provision was also introduced by TCJA for “specified service trades or businesses” and can include Section 475 ordinary income.
To make a Section 475 election this year, traders needed to file an election statement by April 18, 2022 (or March 15 for existing S-Corps and partnerships). To complete the election process, taxpayers must submit a Form 3115 with their 2022 tax return. Those who missed the 2022 deadline may want to consider the election for 2023—experts also suggest trying to defer trading expenses until then.