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Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres recommends taxpayers do this to ahead of filing 2018 returns

Posted on December 15, 2018

Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres has some recommendations for taxpayers right now – ahead of filing their 2018 tax returns. Because of the many changes in the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, approved in December, 2017, tax preparation and refund structures may be significantly different than prior years for some taxpayers.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs act includes the following taxpayer changes:

  • Increases the standard deduction
  • Suspends personal exemptions
  • Increased the child tax credit
  • Adds a new credit for other dependents
  • Limits or discontinues certain other deductions

TSPA can help you avoid surprises. One of the things we are recommending is a taxpayer Paycheck Checkup. Our CPAs can help you determine if you need to adjust your withholding or make estimated or additional tax payments before the end of the year. 

Here’s what we collect, check and verify now:

  • Your most recent paystub listing year-to-date earnings and withholdings
  • Most recent statement showing deductions for medical insurance throughout 2018
  • November brokerage and/or investment statements with year-to-date information
  • 2018 bank statement and summary of charitable contributions
  • We recommend that you double-check to be sure your employer, banks or other payers have your current mailing address.
  • If you are a new TSPA client, please also provide us with copies of your last two filed tax returns. That helps us check to see if there is any additional information needed to accurately determine your estimated 2018 tax calculation.

What can you do yourself? To you understand and define the new rules and regulations, Publication 5307, Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families, is available on IRS.gov/getready.

TSPA recommendations:

  • Whether we help you file or you self-file, the IRS recommends electronically filing (e-filing) your tax return. It is the most accurate way to prepare and file. Return errors delay refunds and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file. IRS e-file software guides you through the process and does all the math.
  • Combining Direct Deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. It’s safe and secure. With Direct Deposit, your refund goes directly into your bank account of choice using the same electronic transfer system now used to deposit nearly 98 percent of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits. (P.S: Direct Deposit also saves taxpayer dollars. It costs taxpayers more than $1 for every paper refund check issued but only a dime for each Direct Deposit.)

TSPA cautions:

By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. This change helps ensure that taxpayers receive the refund they’re due by giving the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud.

This year in particular, the IRS has cautioned taxpayers not to rely on getting a refund by a certain date. Some returns may require additional review for a variety of reasons – including security concerns and fraud protection — and may take longer. TSPA is encouraging all taxpayers to plan ahead now, and allow extra time for tax prep and refunds in 2019.