Filing your 2018 Tax Return: Are you prepared for the changes?

Filing your 2018 Tax Return

This is Mark Nusz at Westward LAW and we will be discussing filing your 2018 tax return.

The IRS is open!

I do a lot of work with the IRS representing taxpayers. They are just opening up their call centers after this lengthy shut-down. I called the practitioner hotline and got right through yesterday, surprisingly I might add.

The time for filing your taxes is right now. The Service has started accepting tax returns, beginning on January 28th. If I were you, and you are looking to receive a refund it is probably best to get your taxes filed soon. It will be fastest if you file electronically, and ask for direct deposit.

I heard from one of the agents I spoke to that the earliest you can receive your refund is February 24th, so get those tax returns in!!

If you don’t need your refund, or you are likely to owe the IRS then, you might want to wait until the deadline of April 15th (which is on a Monday this year).

Remember that if you need more time to file, you can file for an extension, but you have to do it by the April 15th deadline. With your extension you will get 6 more months to file. The caveat to this is that you don’t get an extension to pay – so, if you owe – either send the money in with your extension request, or be prepared to pay some interest on the money that you owe when you do pay. The deadline to file if you have an extension is October 15, 2019.

Another item I wanted to bring to your attention is that the forms are quite a bit different this year, as a result of the new Tax Laws and amendments which took effect at the beginning of 2018.

Tax Return Changes

Take a look…

First off – the 2018 Form 1040 is totally different. It’s shorter – 2 pages, but each page is really just a half a page. They have also gotten rid of the old 1040A and the 1040EZ. We’ll all be filing this form…which is a good thing in my book.

Here is a look at what the old 2017 1040 looked like….

Now, if you have a little more complexity in your tax return à most of us do, then, you will be filing additional schedules.

There are now 6 new schedules that will be attached to the 1040 if you need them. You’ll only use the ones that you need. So, now you can see that the 1040 isn’t as simple and easy as it appears to be. Many people will need to file at least one of these schedules, possibly more.

Make sure you are up to date

Finally, remember that this is all new. I already see that there are multiple changes being released for the instruction booklets related to many different tax forms – not just the 1040. Lots of these changes will apply to you, so you’ll need to make sure that you are working with the most recent instruction booklet or make sure that your tax preparation software is fully up-to-date (let it check for changes, and install them)!

That’s it for today!

This is Mark Nusz at Westward LAW in Washington. So long…