Four years ago, I became a single mom through divorce. I got organized, created a budget. It was going to be tight doing it myself. I don’t get alimony, and child support from my precariously self-employed ex is pretty minimal. So when I did my taxes that year and checked off that head of household deduction, I felt immense relief. Boom! Just like that, the numbers flooded into “we live another day” territory. I breathed a sigh of relief. Hallelujah.
Since then, it’s been the same every year. I always need that tax credit for something.
Now we have a new president and possibly a new, simpler tax code. How’s that going to work out for me as a single mom? Not so well. Not well at all.
Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would eliminate that precious head of household deduction I depend on. Instead, I would have to file as an individual.
Second, I would lose my dependent exemption. Here’s how Forbes explains it.
“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.”
It gets worse. If the tax schedule is reduced from seven rates to three, my tax rate will go up.
“For example, in 2017 a single parent with one child who claims the standard deduction would face a 25 percent tax rate on adjusted gross income (AGI) between $53,050 and $68,550, compared with just a 15 percent rate under current law.”
Um, hello? Guys? It kind of looks like my taxes are fixing to get raised by a Republican administration. Isn’t that kind of the opposite of what’s supposed to happen?
When I learned this today, I had to leave my desk and go cry somewhere. Goodbye, glorious feeling of relief when I click that head of household deduction. It was nice knowing you. Paying for summer day camp this year could wind up being a big ol’ ¯_(?)_/¯.
Now, Trump’s tax plan also includes a deduction for child care costs for parents of children under 13, which — oh wait, my kid turns 13 this January, so never mind. But depending on how much you make and how much you spend on child care, this could offset your tax hike. Maybe. You’ll have to roll the dice with that one.
Let’s talk about who this is going to hit hardest: moms. Why? Because according to the 2013 U.S. Census, 80 percent of single-parent households are headed by women.
Someone has to pay for tax breaks for the 1 percent and for corporations, and it might as well be us single moms. After all, we’re too tired and busy to complain. See how perfect this is?
OK, reality check here. I am fortunate to have a college education and a full-time job. And I’m living with a partner who I know would help me out in an emergency. But I think we single moms know the difference between relying on someone’s kindness and generosity and relying on someone’s legal obligation. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s there.
Many other moms have it worse, though, and depend on their tax credits and deductions with a kind of desperation some of you will hopefully never know. Think of them. This tax plan isn’t a reality yet. We could still stop it. But you know what? Like I just said, we’re kind of tired and busy. We could use some allies. Just saying.