Two Minute Tips

3 stories to report now on the new tax cuts

February 1, 2018

Share this article:

The new tax cut offers a number of angles for business reporters looking to cover its effect on local taxpayers. (Photo via

Many taxpayers saw an immediate increase in their paychecks after H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill, became law on January 1, 2018. But they may not be paying attention to the impact of the new law on their financial situation until they file their income tax returns in 2019.

Among other changes, the new law doubles the standard deduction, but eliminates itemized deductions and limits property taxes.

Business reporters can give their readers the opportunity to do some timely financial planning in 2018, by looking into one, or all, of the following angles and resources in this important story:

Explain the new tax cuts to your readers

The seven income tax brackets in the tax code haven’t changed as a result of the new law, but income levels have, which means that most taxpayers will benefit from the new law. According to calculations from the Tax Policy Center, tax cuts will average less than 2 percent for most (90 percent) of those on the lower end of the income scale, and 4 percent, for those with higher incomes.

Team up with your news organization’s data-reporting staff or adapt this open-source tax-modeling software to help readers estimate their tax savings. The staff at the Open Source Policy Center, which builds economic models related to public policy, can also offer help.

Offer your readers a free “tax clinic” on the new law

Ask two to three local financial planners and accountants to look at the financial situation of selected readers and offer specific advice on changes to make now or avoid. Pick an accountant with the Personal Financial Specialist designation.

Choose readers at different income levels and situations (single, married, head of household), as well as those who are retired or disabled.

Contact your state’s labor department to research your selections. Then reach out through social media to interview readers about how they plan to use their estimated savings.

Report on available free tax help

Before spending some — or all — of the money they just saved from the new tax cuts bill, some of your readers may want to see if they qualify for free tax help.

Professional Tax preparation fees are rising. Fees ranged from $176 for a simple Schedule A to $457 for a return including a Form 1040, Schedule A (itemized deductions) and a state tax return, according to a recent survey from the National Society of Accountants.

Free online tax-preparation services now include TurboTax AbsoluteZero, CreditKarma Tax and H&R Block’s MoreZero for earners in low- and moderate-income brackets, joining online (e-File and the Free File Alliance) and in-person programs from the Internal Revenue Service (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and Tax Counseling or the Elderly). Volunteers with the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program also offer help during tax season in libraries, community centers, and other locations.

More Like This...

The clock is ticking: Deadline for entries to the 2017 Barlett & Steele Awards is this Monday, July 31. (Image from Photoshot via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain)

The stakeholders of daylight saving time

On Nov. 1, households across the country will participate in two national rituals: taking down Halloween decorations, and, more urgently, setting their clocks back by an hour.  The biannual switch

Localizing the fight over gig economy legislation

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) went into effect in California on January 1 amid much controversy. The bill was designed to combat worker misclassification and provide greater labor protections to gig

Two Minute Tips

Sign up now.
Get one Tuesday.

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism.

Subscribers also get access to the Tip archive.

Get Two Minute Tips For Business Journalism Delivered To Your Email Every Tuesday

Two Minute Tips

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism. Sign up now and get one Tuesday.

Our New Look
The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism is starting 2023 with a new look that we hope better illustrates our core mission to provide accurate and authoritative resources about business journalism, in order to help both reporters and news consumers understand the importance of business news and to demystify the sometimes arcane topics it covers.
Businesses, markets, and economies move in cycles – ups and downs – which is why our new logo contains a “candlestick” chart representing increases as well as downturns, and serves as a reminder that volatility is an unavoidable attribute of modern life. But it’s also possible to prepare for volatility by being well informed, and informing the general public to help level the information playing field is the primary goal of business journalism. The Reynolds Center is committed to supporting that goal, which is why the candlestick pattern in our logo merges directly into the name of our founding sponsor, Donald W. Reynolds.
Our new logo comes with a shorter name. Business is borderless, and understanding the global links in supply chains, trade, and flows of funds and people is essential to make sense of our fast-paced, globalized world. So we’re dropping the word “National” from our name and will aim to provide content that is applicable to business news globally.
We hope you like the new look. Best wishes for 2023!