The Senate passed its version of a wide-ranging tax bill (PDF) early Saturday, with Republicans characterizing it as a win for middle-income taxpayers and for businesses that will help grow the American economy.

But the final bill, which was amended up until the vote at 2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, shows some clear winners and losers. It also differs from the House version passed in mid-November. The two plans would need to be reconciled and approved by each chamber.

Several measures in the Senate plan could help middle-income taxpayers, at least for the first few years after the bill’s enactment. It eliminates the $4,050-per-person personal exemption, and it doubles the standard deduction—meaning more people and families could end up with no federal tax bill, and others could see larger refunds.

Supporters say that the significant drop in corporate taxes from a top 35 percent to a flat 20 percent—along with other changes to business taxation—would spur significant improvements in the economy and job market overall. That’s in spite of estimates that the bill would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit after 10 years. 

Critics say the plan would benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the poor and lower earners. They say the deficit caused by the bill would eventually require painful cuts in public services, as well as in entitlements such as Medicare. 

Here’s a breakdown of who would be most likely to win and lose if the changes become law:

Likely Winners

• Those who take the standard deduction. Most individuals and families taking the standard deduction would see a tax break under the plan, according to multiple analyses. For those who itemize, it’s less certain that their tax burden would go down.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center puts the average tax benefit for households making $50,000 to $75,000 at $850. (The U.S. median household income is around $59,000.)

“If you’re taking the standard deduction now, you’ll most likely get a tax break,” says Michael Kresh, a certified financial planner based in Islandia, N.Y. “But if you itemize, there's a 50-50 chance you’ll pay more.” Kresh calculated that one of his clients, making $200,000 but with $30,000 in property taxes and $12,500 in state income tax, could pay 24 percent more federal tax. “Most New Yorkers making $200K or less would probably not consider themselves wealthy,” he says. “Yet here we are with rising taxes.” 

More on Tax Reform

• Families with dependents. In addition to benefiting from a higher standard deduction, families whose income qualifies them for a child tax credit would get more per child: $2,000, vs. $1,000 under the current law and $1,600 in the House bill. 

• Teachers of grades K-12. Educators could double their deduction of out-of-pocket school expenses, to $500. By contrast, the House bill cuts the deduction entirely.

• People with expensive medical bills. For 2017 and 2018, taxpayers could deduct the amount of medical expenses that exceeds 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. After that, they could deduct in excess of 10 percent, as the law is today. The House bill does not allow for the deduction of medical expenses at all.

• Wealthy, self-employed people. People who have structured their businesses as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and other special entities—also known as pass-through businesses—could shelter 23 percent of their income from taxation. A study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that the change would mainly help people who make significant income through hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate development, and similar investments, and not small businesspeople.

• Wealthy taxpayers in general, and their heirs. With the change in tax brackets, married people filing jointly would pay a tax rate of no more than 35.8 percent on more than $1 million in income, compared with the current top tax rate of 39.6 percent. A change in the estate tax would allow their heirs to shelter twice as much inherited wealth or gifts as before: nearly $11 million for an individual and nearly $22 million for a couple.

Likely Losers

• Those without private health insurance. The Senate’s proposed elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate could nudge an estimated 13 million Americans out of state healthcare marketplaces established by the ACA, according to an estimate by nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. They could voluntarily end up with no health insurance. Many analysts have suggested that the exit of those individuals also would drive up premium prices for those who remain in state healthcare marketplaces by an average 10 percent a year.

• Folks living in high-tax areas. The Senate version, like in the House version, kills the deduction of state and local taxes, except for $10,000 in property taxes. Residents of locations with very high property taxes—California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, in particular—would lose a portion of the valuable write-off.

• All of us, by 2026. Unlike the permanent drop in the corporate tax rate, tax breaks for individuals would mostly expire in 2026. An analysis of an earlier Senate bill draft by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found that by 2019, taxpayers making $30,000 or less would pay more, as a group, than they do now. By 2025, the last year in which the Senate measures would be in place, only those making $1 million or more would still be paying less in taxes. The following year, all taxpayers would pay more than we would pay if the current tax structure stayed the same. 

A contributor to that development is a new, permanent inflation factor that would move taxpayers up to a higher tax bracket more quickly than under current law.

Tax Measure Current Law (for 2017) Proposed
Rates and brackets, single filer Up to $9,325: 10%
$9,326 to $37,950: 15%
$37,951 to $91,900: $25%
$91,901 to $191,650: 28%
$191,651 to $416,700: 33%
$416,701 to $418,400: 35%
Over $418,400: 39.6%
Up to $9,525: 10%
$9,526 to $38,700: 12%
$38,701 to $70,000:22%
$70,001 to $160,000: 24%
$160,001 to $200,000: 32%
$200,001 to 500,000: 35%
Over 500,000: 38.5%
Standard deduction $6,350 for single filers.
$9,350 for heads of household.
$12,700 for married filing jointly.
$12,000 for single filers.
$18,000 for heads of household.
$24,000 for married filing jointly.
Rates and brackets, married filing jointly Up to $18,650: 10%
$18,651 to $75,900: 15%
$75,901 to $153,100: $25%
$153,101 to $233,350: 28%
$233,351 to $416,700: 33%
$416,701 to $470,700: 35%
Over $470,700: 39.6%
Up to $19,050: 10%
$77,401 to $140,000: 22%
$141,001 to $320,000: 24%
$321,001 to $400,000: 32%
Over 1 million 38.5%
Personal exemption $4,050 None
Mortgage interest Interest on loans of up to $1 million may be deducted. No change.
State and local taxes State and local property, income, sales and other taxes may be deducted. State and local tax deduction eliminated. Property tax deduction remains, capped at $10,000.
Individual health insurance mandate All individuals, except where specifically exempt, must have health insurance coverage with benefits specified by the Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty. Individual mandate repealed.
Popular credits and deductions Student loan interest of up to $2,500 may be excluded from income, though the deduction phases out as income increases. No change.
Child tax credit of $1,000, phased out as income increases. Child tax credit of $2,000, with phase-out occurring at higher income limit.
Deduction of charitable contributions, subject to some limits. No change in charitable deduction rules.
Taxpayers may deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income. Taxpayers may deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income for tax-years 2017 and 2018. After that, deduction threshold rises to 10 percent of adjusted gross income.
K-12 teachers may deduct up to $250 of out-of-pocket expenses. Teacher expense deduction rises to $500.
Alternative Minimum Tax Separate tax calculation, mainly affecting upper-middle-income-taxpayers. No Alternative Minimum Tax
Estate Tax Tax of up to 40 percent on the part of an inherited estate or gift that exceeds $5.49 million (for single heirs, and $10.98 million for couples. Current exemption levels double, to $10.98 million for couples and $21.96 million for couples.


Sources: Internal Revenue Service, Senate Finance Committee


Tax Measure Current Law
(for 2017)
Proposed
Rates and brackets, single filer UP to $9,325: 10%
$9,326 to $37,950: 15%
$37,951 to $91,900: $25%
$91,901 to $191,650: 28%
$191,651 to $416,700: 33%
$416,701 to $418,400: 35%
Over $418,400: 39.6%
Up to $9,525: 10%
$9,526 to $38,700: 12%
$38,701 to $70,000:22%
$70,001 to $160,000: 24%
$160,001 to $200,000: 32%
$200,001 to 500,000: 35%
Over 500,000: 38.5%
Standard deduction $6,350 for single filers.
$9,350 for heads of household.
$12,700 for married filing jointly.
$12,000 for single filers.
$18,000 for heads of household.
$24,000 for married filing jointly.
Rates and brackets, married filing jointly Up to $18,650: 10%
$18,651 to $75,900: 15%
$75,901 to $153,100: $25%
$153,101 to $233,350: 28%
$233,351 to $416,700: 33%
$416,701 to $470,700: 35%
Over $470,700: 39.6%
Up to $19,050: 10%
$77,401 to $140,000: 22%
$141,001 to $320,000: 24%
$321,001 to $400,000: 32%
Over 1 million 38.5%
Personal exemption $4,050 None
Mortgage interest Interest on loans of up to $1 million may be deducted. No change.
State and local taxes State and local property, income, sales and other taxes may be deducted. Property tax deduction capped at $10,000.
Individual health insurance mandate All individuals, except where specifically exempt, must have health insurance coverage with benefits specified by the Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty. Individual mandate repealed.
Retirement accounts Pretax contributions of up to $18,000 for those under age 50. Pretax contributions of up to $24,000 for those 50 and older. No major changes.
Popular credits and deductions Student loan interest of up to $2,500 may be excluded from income, though the deduction phases out as income increases. No change.
Child tax credit of $1,000, phased out as income increases. Child tax credit of $2,000, with phase-out occurring at higher income limit.
Deduction of charitable contributions, subject to some limits. No change in charitable deduction rules.
Taxpayers may deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income. Taxpayers may deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income for tax-years 2017 and 2018. After that, deduction threshold rises to 10 percent of adjusted gross income.
K-12 teachers may deduct up to $250 of out-of-pocket expenses. Teacher expense deduction rises to $500.
Alternative Minimum Tax Separate tax calculation, mainly affecting upper-middle-income-taxpayers. No Alternative Minimum Tax
Estate Tax Tax of up to 40 percent on the part of an inherited estate or gift that exceeds $5.49 million (for single heirs, and $10.98 million for couples. Current exemption levels double, to $10.98 million for couples and $21.96 million for couples.

Sources: Internal Revenue Service, Senate Finance Committee