Attention FAE Customers:
Please be aware that NASBA credits are awarded based on whether the events are webcast or in-person, as well as on the number of CPE credits.
Please check the event registration page to see if NASBA credits are being awarded for the programs you select.

Bill to Raise SALT Deduction Cap to $20K Advances in House

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Feb 5, 2024

Legislation that would increase, for the current tax-filing year, the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction—but only for married couples who file taxes jointly and make up to $500,000—has passed the U.S. House of Representatives’ Rules Committee, The Washington Post reported. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.), would raise the cap to $20,000.

The tax legislation that was passed by a bipartisan House vote last week did not include a lifting of the $10,000 cap on SALT deductions. That cap was put in place by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Residents of high-tax states who used to be able to deduct their entire SALT payments have been pushing to change the cap since the the law was enacted. In this election year, Republican legislators from high-tax states such as New York—particularly from districts that President Joe Biden carried in 2020—have been advocating for such an increase. Lawler represents all or parts of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties.

“I was thrilled to see H.R. 7160, the SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act, pass through the Rules Committee by a vote of 8 to 5, setting the stage for its consideration on the House Floor as early as next week,” said Lawler in a statement. “I have been fighting non-stop to get my constituents SALT relief, and the elimination of the unfair marriage penalty on SALT would be a significant win for Hudson Valley families. There is still more work to be done, however, and I look forward to this crucial legislation passing the House.”

Lawler’s bill, which is supported by other Republican lawmakers from Democratic-controlled states, would let married couples offset up to $20,000 of income on their federal returns with state and local taxes for the current tax-filing year. The cap would drop back to $10,000 in 2024 until the cap expires in 2026.

The Post pointed out that it is primarily wealthier taxpayers who take the SALT deduction because they earn enough to owe larger SALT bills and have enough other deductions to make it worth itemizing rather than taking the standard deduction. The current standard deduction for couples filing jointly is $27,700.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that the vast majority of the benefits of doubling the cap would go to couples who earn more than $200,000, and between a third and half of them would see a tax cut, the Post reported. A different nonpartisan estimate by the Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania found that the legislation would cost $12 billion in lost federal tax revenue.

One of the Republicans supporting the legislation is Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) of Long Island. “I haven’t seen the politics or polling on this specific issue or a specific race, but I’m quite familiar that all Long Islanders, and the ones in the third district in New York, want this town to come together and give them a little more SALT,” he told the Post.

Unusual coalitions have formed in the House over this issue, the Post noted. Liberals from states that could benefit from a more generous SALT cap have teamed with traditional anti-tax conservatives, and Republicans from low-tax states have joined with progressives who oppose what they see as a tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of low-income earners.

Should the bill pass the House, it may not get through the Senate, where opinions on the SALT provision are mixed, according to the Post.

“All the SALT deduction did, capping it, is make sure that blue states don’t get subsidized by red-state taxpayers,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said last week. “I think providing a cap at $10,000 was a way to make it fair. But I know the blue states would love to have the red states subsidize their high spending in the big cities.”

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.