Income will be taxed at lower rates. The top 39.6% level will drop in stages to 35% by 2006. Several other rates will fall gradually as well: 36% to 33%, 31% to 28%, 28% to 25%. The 15% bracket remains unchanged, except that the first $6,000 in income for singles and $12,000 for couples will be taxed at a new 10% rate effective July 1.
The so-called death tax will be repealed by 2010. For now, the top 55% rate falls to 50%; the current exemption on the first $675,000 will rise in steps to $3.5 million by 2009.
Beginning in 2005, a married couple's standard deduction will be raised gradually until it equals twice that of a single taxpayer's; more of the couple's income will also fall into the 15% bracket.
The plan doubles the current $500 child credit by 2010. Low-income families who earn more than $10,000 and pay no taxes will now get part of the child credit as a cash payment.
The check is in the mail. Taxpayers will get an instant refund by September, with amounts of up to $300 for an individual, $500 for a single parent and $600 for a married couple.