Have Questions? We’re Here All Year!
Many clients see their CPAs at tax time, when the main focus is on completing and filing their tax return. As a result, they may not take the opportunity to ask questions about long-term tax planning or about other important financial concerns. The good news is that we are available to you all year. We’re ready when you are to take some time reviewing your financial situation, helping you understand your options and make the best decisions. We’re also here in an emergency to help address unexpected financial concerns. So, give us a call to discuss your important financial issues whenever they arise.
Three Popular Tax Benefits Retroactively Renewed for 2017; IRS Ready to Accept Returns Claiming These Benefits; e-file for Fastest Refunds
IR-2018-33, Feb. 22, 2018
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today said that it is ready to process tax year 2017 returns claiming three popular tax benefits recently renewed retroactively into law.
The Bipartisan Budget Act, enacted on Feb. 9, renewed for tax year 2017 a wide range of individual and business tax benefits that had expired at the end of 2016. The IRS has now reprogrammed its processing systems to handle the three benefits most likely to be claimed on returns filed early in the tax season.
As a result, taxpayers can now file returns claiming:
Exclusion from gross income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness (often, foreclosure-related debt forgiveness), claimed on Form 982,
Mortgage insurance premiums treated as qualified residence interest, generally claimed by low- and middle-income filers on Schedule A, and
Deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses claimed on Form 8917.
The IRS is working closely with tax professionals and the tax-preparation industry to ensure that their available software processes can now accommodate these new provisions. As always, filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is the fastest, most accurate and most convenient way to receive a tax refund. Last year, nearly 87 percent of individual returns were filed electronically and nearly 80 percent of refunds were direct deposited.
The IRS is continuing to update its systems to handle returns claiming the other tax benefits extended by the new law, enacted on Feb. 9. In general, these benefits affect a smaller number of taxpayers. Taxpayers eligible for these benefits can avoid delays or possibly needing to file an amended return later, by filing after IRS systems have been updated to reflect these changes. Check IRS.gov/Extenders for future updates.
Taxpayers who have already filed their 2017 federal tax return and now wish to claim one of these renewed tax benefits can do so by filing an amended return on Form 1040X. Amended returns cannot be filed electronically and can take up to 16 weeks to process. Visit IRS.gov for details.
Changes are coming!
The TCJA was signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017.
Updated 2018 Withholding Tables Now Available
IR-2018-05, Jan. 11, 2018
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service released Notice 1036, which updates the income-tax withholding tables for 2018 reflecting changes made by the tax reform legislation enacted last month. This is the first in a series of steps that IRS will take to help improve the accuracy of withholding following major changes made by the new tax law.
The updated withholding information shows the new rates for employers to use during 2018. Employers should begin using the 2018 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than Feb. 15, 2018. They should continue to use the 2017 withholding tables until implementing the 2018 withholding tables.
Many employees will begin to see increases in their paychecks to reflect the new law in February. The time it will take for employees to see the changes in their paychecks will vary depending on how quickly the new tables are implemented by their employers and how often they are paid — generally weekly, biweekly or monthly.
More information is available in the Withholding Tables Frequently Asked Questions.
Are you ready for tax time? There are a couple of steps you can take now to alleviate some of the stress of filing your return. Plan to get organized early. Begin by putting together a tax folder with W-2s from your employer, 1099s for other income you may have earned, bank and other financial statements and receipts for things like medical bills and charitable donations.
Once you’ve gathered all your important paperwork, this is a good time to meet with us to talk about changes in your financial situation or in tax laws that may have an effect on your return. Having this discussion early is key to avoiding surprises at tax time and a great time to get started on planning that can potentially minimize your tax bite and strengthen your financial situation.