Over the past year much has been written about the new tax law, and the impact it will have on taxpayers. Many are predicting this will be the most difficult filing season in recent memory, and that your refund may be less than you expect. Although the complexity of preparing your return may have increased due to the new tax forms and rules, time can be saved by following the steps below:
The first step is to create a 2018 “tax folder” (digital or physical) so you can consolidate all your tax documents in one place. The next simple step is to glance at your 2017 tax return and come up with a checklist of what documents you should expect to report. Granted, the list might not be perfect and will not include new items that arose last year, but it will be a good baseline to help ensure that you capture all items needed to complete your 2018 tax return.
We get it – diving into the weeds of your prior year tax return probably sounds downright miserable! We are here to help – reach out to us and we can help you put together that list. We’ve put a list of things together below to help get this process started. As always if you have more detailed questions please do not hesitate to contact us anytime!
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions below you should expect to receive a tax document in the mail to include in your folder.
- Did you collect salary? (W2)
- Did you perform contract work? (1099s) )
- Do you have bank and/or brokerage accounts? (1099s) )
- Are you self-employed (income, expenses, major purchases)? )
- Do you have a rental home (rents received, expenses, major purchases)? )
- Do you receive royalties? (1099s, property taxes paid) )
- Are you invested in any publicly traded or private partnerships (K1s) )
- Do you have a farm/ranch (income, expenses, major purchases)? )
- Did you take a distribution from a retirement plan? (1099-Rs) )
- Did you collect Social Security income? (1099-SSA) )
- Do you have a mortgage on your home? (1098 from your lender) )
- Did you pay property taxes? )
- Did you donate to charity? (cash and non-cash (Goodwill)) )
- Did you pay interest on any education loans? (From 1098-T) )
- Do you have health insurance? (1095) )
- Did you make estimated tax payments last year? )
- Did you pay any daycare expenses last year? )
- Did you buy or sell a home last year (Include closing statements on both the buy & sell) )
The new tax law increased the standard deduction for a married couple to $24,000 which should simplify the returns for many filers. If you think this might apply to you we’d suggest contacting your preparer before you spend time gather all of information regarding your deductions.
If you are expecting a refund it is to your advantage to submit your return earlier in the filing season. While many feared the government shutdown would slow the refund process, we filed a return last week and the taxpayer received her refund within seven days. As we get close to April 15th expect this turnaround time to lengthen.
- March 15th – Partnership (1065) and S-Corporations (1120S)
- April 15th Individual (1040), Q1 Estimate payments (1040), Trust (1041), and C-corporations (1120)
Also, remember most CPA firms have an internal deadline line to allow for adequate time for preparing your return. At WCM this deadline is March 25th, and if we receive your information after this date we’ll help ensure that your extension is filed.
To learn more, please contact us at 210-684-1071 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!