Tax Season 2018: New Laws and Scams to Watch For
Right about now you're probably getting your W-2s from your employer and thinking about filing those taxes. But this year, there's widespread confusion about how the newly signed tax reform law affects the filing process.
Right about now you're probably getting your W-2s from your employer and thinking about filing those taxes. But this year, there's widespread confusion about how the newly signed tax reform law affects the filing process. Reno CPA Cory Wright clears up the misconceptions.
First off, for filing this year, we're just talking about your finances from 2017. That means that the previous year's tax laws apply to this year's filing.
"Most of those [changes] are only for 2018," Wright said, "so you don't have to worry about what you're doing with your accountant this year. You can do the same things you've done in the past."
The exceptions to that are a few changes for businesses, and any changes in your personal life, like an additional source of income, a marriage, or a child.
The first day to file your 2017 taxes is Monday, January 29th. The big deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. Wright said there's often a rush as the deadline nears, so if you don't want to wait in line, don't procrastinate.
"You want to get in as soon as you can and get all your documents in as fast as you can," Wright said, adding that the best time for the most efficient filing is early February.
As for the tax overhaul that was just signed into law, that won't affect your filing until 2019, but it's not too early to start thinking about it, since the actions you take now will affect your filing next year.
"It's going to be a very different season for all of us," Wright said. "We are all just now learning the tax law and the IRS has yet to publish regulations as to their interpretation of it as well."
Wright said it's a good idea to meet with with your CPA to talk about ways to maximize your finances under the new laws as soon as possible. Businesses especially may want to change their designations to take advantage of new deductions.
And if you're shopping for a new tax preparer, the IRS is warning of scammers posing as tax professionals. The IRS offers these tips:
-Find out what the service fees and costs are before the return is prepared.
-Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund.
-Avoid preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
-Inquire about the tax preparer's credentials.
-Only use a tax professional that signs your tax return and provides you with a copy.
-Choose a tax preparer that will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
-Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions.
-Never sign a blank tax return.
-Remember, you are responsible for the information on a filed tax return.