Keister talks taxes at Rotary Club

SIDNEY — The Rotary Club of Sidney recently hosted fellow Sidney Rotarian Ralph Keister, of Faulkner Garmhausen Keister & Shenk, to speak about tax law changes.

The attorney said it is “easy to get lost in the woods.” The tax code contains 26,000 pages and very little simplification except at very modest income levels. Most of the individual changes that were enacted expire in 2025, and most of the corporate changes are permanent, he said.

Individual changes include reducing tax rates. Keister commented on several deduction changes, including the standard deduction’s being raised for those filing as married, head of household or single. Itemized deductions will have some changes including limiting the amount of deductions for income, property and sales taxes; mortgage interest and medical expenses. Charity donations will still be deductible but may be affected by the increase in the standard deduction.

The corporate tax rate was lowered from up to 35 percent to a flat rate of 21 percent, and Keister said that this was the “biggie” of the changes made to the tax code. Several changes were made for partnerships, LLCs and S corporations that are, Keister said, “horribly complicated.”

The speaker answered some questions from his fellow Rotarians and then closed his remarks with some comments: National debt is close to $21 trillion and interest rates of 4 to 6 percent could overwhelm the budget, resulting in more taxes. Those taxes could be a value added tax, excise tax on wealth and potentially a tax on nonprofits. Currently 20 percent of citizens pay 80 percent of the federal taxes.