How individual taxpayers can exploit the new tax bill right now

 Americans can tax advantage of the GOP tax plan already, including by a donating to charity before the end of the year. (Image Source / Getty Images)

Americans can tax advantage of the GOP tax plan already, including by a donating to charity before the end of the year. (Image Source / Getty Images)

The newly-passed tax plan is the most significant shift in U.S. tax policy in over 30 years. For many individuals, the way they file taxes will see significant changes. 

"A typical piece of end-of-the-year advice is to increase your potential deductions before Jan. 1. Deductions claimed for things you did this year will lower tax bills due the following April. Wait until January, and you'll need to cool your heels for more than a year to get the benefit of deductions claimed.

This year, beefing up your charitable giving could be even more effective. If your tax rate is falling in 2018, your deductions are more valuable if claimed against this year's income. Giving to charity, a tax deduction that's preserved under the tax bill, is an effective way to boost your 2017 deductions on short notice.

And even if your tax rate is going up next year under the new bill, you may still want to make a bunch of charitable donations in 2017. Most deductions, including the charitable one, can only be claimed if you itemize your tax return. The bill would sharply limit the number of taxpayers who would benefit from itemizing: First it raises the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for single people, and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples. Second, it limits other deductions - most famously for state and local taxes - so it's harder for taxpayers to reach the threshold where itemizing makes sense." -Chicago Tribune, December 18, 2017

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Read the full article by the Chicago Tribune here