Letter to the Editor: D.C. tax filing even worse than Nevins’ viewpoint suggests

The John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW holds the offices for the mayor and D.C. Council. (photo courtesy of Josh Gibson)

In the Viewpoint column in the Jan. 24 edition, Louis Nevins laments the fact that D.C. income tax law regarding deductions allows only itemized deductions permitted under federal rules. Thus, for 2018, D.C. filers will no longer be allowed to deduct such items as tax preparation fees, moving expenses and others banned as a result of the new federal tax law. This means a tax increase for D.C. filers.

It’s actually worse than that. The new federal tax law, with its limits on itemized deductions and doubling of the standard deduction, will cause many federal filers to abandon itemized deductions and claim the standard deduction in 2018. Quoting from Form D-40, District Code §47-1803.03 (c) states “Every individual who claims the standard deduction on his or her federal income tax return shall claim the applicable standard deduction specified in District Code §47-1801.04 (44).” Unfortunately, the D.C. standard deduction has not been adjusted. This will also result in a tax increase for D.C. filers.

The new federal tax rules result in a windfall for D.C. tax collections. D.C. should either adjust the standard deduction or allow D.C. taxpayers flexibility in regard to choosing between itemizing or claiming the standard deduction.

Robert Cole, Foggy Bottom