Tax Reform – Trick or Treat
Tax Reform is going to help most of my clients, but it is also going to have unexpected consequences for most everybody. To make taxes “easy and effective” for my clients I included a forecast of 2018 taxes with each 2017 tax return that I prepared. What did I find out? Taxes are generally lower but unexpected. There’s a big withholding problem! Most taxpayers are having too much withheld. If you want to find out more and how to get the most out of your taxes.
What did Tax Reform do to you? All tax rates dropped 2-3 points under Tax Reform, helping most everybody. Tax Reform doubled most taxpayers’ standard deductions so many taxpayers will not have to deduct mortgage interest or taxes. However, Tax Reform took away the $4,050 dependent deduction, but added a $2,000 per child tax credit. This works against childless couples. State and local taxes are limited to $10,000 per year. Mortgage loans on which you can deduct mortgage interest are limited to $750,000. No longer deductible are employee’s job expenses and investment related expenses like investment management fees. All of these changes affect your withholding or estimated taxes.
In changes after Tax Reform, Congress renewed the law that allows the write-off for private mortgage insurance, which is treated as home mortgage interest deduction. Taxpayers who can use this deduction will need to adjust their withholding.
The W-4 form tells employers how much federal taxes to withhold from each employee, and it is based on the deduction for dependents, which no longer exists. In January the IRS let employers use old W-4’s, and the IRS knew it was inaccurate. The IRS have been trying to correct the errors ever since. Recently the IRS issued a 2018 update to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax and offered the IRS Withholding Calculator on their website so taxpayers could correct earlier mistakes. The IRS admits that there are problems.
WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW:
Unless you want an unpredictable refund or tax due, I advise you to get a 2018 forecast so you can compare actual tax liability with withholding. If I prepare your tax return, I will provide you that forecast. For an hour or so fee, I will provide you a 2018 Forecast. Otherwise you are going to have to spend a lot of time with the IRS Withholding Calculator.
MY TAX MASTERY© PROGRAM is an added benefit of my forecast. It will suggest tax strategies to lower your taxes and then tells you your savings. You can then decrease your withholding to increase your paycheck. THAT’s easy and effective!