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GOP tax bill likely to raise Md. taxes, too

Regarding the editorial, “Five ways Marylanders could get whacked by the Republican tax bill” (Dec. 4), there’s a sixth way and it’s not in federal taxes but a higher amount many Marylanders will pay in their state income tax.

The editorial notes that we are No. 1 in the nation in the percentage of filers who itemize (45.9 percent). With the proposed doubling of the federal standard deduction, many fewer Marylanders will continue itemize — but will get “whacked” on their state income taxes as a result. Why? Maryland taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions on their federal returns are limited to a standard deduction on their state returns (of just $2,000 for singles and $4,000 for couples). So a couple earning $100,000 who currently can claim a federal deduction of, say, $23,000 now get a deduction on their state return of nearly that much (reduced by state taxes already paid).

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But when they take a likely new standard federal deduction of $24,000, their deduction on their Maryland return is the state standard one of $4,000 — resulting in a state tax bill nearly 20 percent higher. So any Marylander who currently itemizes less than the proposed federal standard deductions — even though doubled — will end up paying more to the state. Will that Maryland increase be offset by a reduction in federal tax? Don’t bet a hoped-for refund on it!

Ralph Buglass, Rockville

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