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The Voice of the Retired Public Employee
At the end of last year,
we saw the enact-
ment of the Tax Cuts and
Jobs Act by the Con-
gress. With Mass. pen-
sions subject to federal
income tax, members
have been contacting the Association office to
learn if and how this new
federal law will impact
their taxes. (Please note that this article examines only the major fea- tures in the tax law affecting public retirees and not on its potential impact on the federal deficit and other programs. See related article page 5.)
“We also thought it was important to have a better understanding of our members’ current tax situation,” according to Association Counsel Bill Rehrey. “And to that end, we recently conducted an online survey to which more than 3,200 members
responded. Ed Note: As is the Association’s established policy on online surveys, member responses are confiden- tial and all survey results reported in the aggregate – never indi- vidually. Once the survey results have been
that most members took the stan- dard deduction, but that was proven incorrect. As the results show, over a majority – almost 55% – itemize and knowing this, we will take more time to examine how the new law changes personal deductions.”
As the survey also shows, almost all members – over 90% – file a federal return. For Tax Year 2017, you will see little change whether you itemize or take the standard deduction because most changes to personal income taxes take effect this tax year and are not applied retroactively.
So when completing your 2017 tax return, you can still claim a per- sonal exemption of $4,050. If you are under age 65 and use the stan- dard deduction, there is a slight increase from 2016 to $6,350 (single). Married couples, under age 65, can both claim the personal
Please See Page 10 ☞
Potential Impact on Retiree Taxes
collected, all individual responses by members are deleted. If you wish to participate in any future surveys and more impor- tantly receive Association emails on important breaking news, please
forward to us your email address.
“Thanks very much to our members who completed the survey,” continued Rehrey. “We’ve included the results here which are very insightful and dispel some assumptions that we had about our members and their federal taxes.
“Before the survey, we assumed
WEP Reform Advocates Fight For 2018 Passage
As Congress passes the halfway mark of the 2017-2018 session hope remains for the passage of legislation reforming the Social
Security Windfall Elimi- nation Provision (WEP). Both Massachusetts
Congressman Richie Neal and Texas Con- gressman Kevin Brady
remain committed to the proposal they unveiled in 2016, which creates an annual rebate for retirees currently eligible for Social Security and have been impacted by the WEP. The proposal creates a new retirement formula for future retirees that is based on one’s actual work history within Social Security.
Mass Retirees President Frank Valeri and Legisla- tive Director Shawn Duhamel have been scheduled to attend a
series of meetings in Washington, D.C. over the winter months. The hope is to help finalize a proposal that can pass both branches of Con- gress in 2018.
Brady, who chairs the powerful House Commit- tee on Ways and Means, had originally intended to move forward with the WEP proposal last fall. However, plans were delayed due to the national fights over healthcare, tax reform, immigration and federal

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