RT Cunningham


The United States Federal Income Tax Brackets for 2018

tax The income tax changes for 2018 don’t affect me. I haven’t made enough to pay taxes since 2014.

Based on my pension amount and the new tax brackets, I can make a few hundred dollars more per month and still not have to pay. I should be doing something about filling in that gap. I definitely need to make more money.

The 2018 Tax Brackets

I can’t reproduce the tax chart here. Well, I could, but it would take me hours. It’s better if I point you to the chart at Business Insider.

The chart is confusing until you realize it’s based on taxable income. Personal exemptions no longer exist. The standard deduction for a single taxpayer is $12,000 and the standard deduction for a joint return is $24,000. The chart is for income above the standard deduction amount.

My Tax Situation

When I retired from the military nearly 20 years ago, my pension was established as half of my base pay on the date of retirement. It didn’t include housing and subsistence allowances.

Because of congressional tomfoolery, I get more than $300 less than a service member who retires today at the same rank. Believe it or not, that retiree won’t get enough to pay income taxes either. Not with a pension alone.

Before I moved to the Philippines in 2006, I couldn’t afford to live on my pension. It was a little more than enough to pay my monthly house payment. I sold my house during the housing bubble for more than twice I owed on it. That windfall allowed me to move and build a house in Olongapo.

I could still live where I live without owning a house, but I would probably have to suffer with inadequate housing. By my standards, of course, not anyone else’s.

Making More Money

I would like to make more money, but I don’t want the headaches that come with more than enough extra income. As long as I can make more without going beyond the $2000 a month threshold, I’ll be happy.

Get a job, you say? Not here. Besides the law that says “Filipinos first”, jobs just don’t pay enough. A regular Filipino employee is lucky to take home about $400 USD a month.

My income has to come from the United States. I have to pay tax on it, if it’s too much. I don’t like paying taxes.

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By RT Cunningham
March 24, 2018
Personal Finance