ANOTHER TAX SEASON IS HERE! (UPDATED JANUARY 8, 2018)
All the noise about the new tax law is deafening but the real impact won't be felt until we file the 2018 returns in 2019. There are many questions about what you might be able to do differently in 2018 and the short answer is - who knows? Many fewer people will be itemized deductions on Schedule A starting in 2018. Some people tried to take advantage of the tiny one-week window that was available after the passage of the tax bill to try to adjust or increase deductions, but there just wasn't a lot of time. The main areas of possibility were personal income tax, real estate tax and charity. For thise in Alternative Minimum Tax, the two tax deductions were meaningless. For those who would not total as much as $10,000 in those categories, paying early was possibly fruitless. A very last minute announcement from the IRS about the pre-payment of real estate taxes may have killed the prepayment benefit in certain circumstances. It was a mess. It is also behind us now so whatever you did, whatever you didn't do it's now too late and we'll just carry on.
Here is some new stuff and some of what I have written in the past:
You either came here to find the phone number or address; or to check me out because someone referred you to me; or because you know this site is very entertaining. Whatever the reason, it's nice to have you here. Now, make an appointment or send us your stuff so we can prepare your return with the utmost care and alacrity (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alacrity).
A continuing source of aggravation this year is the Earned Income Credit. The tax preparer due diligence requirements are beyond belief, especially when you consider that the type of taxpayer affected by the Earned Income Credit is a low income person who is probably not going to a high-cost professional preparer. That is why there is so much abuse in this area since unethical preparers take advantage of these people and create undeserved refunds which they split with the taxpayer or even keep for themselves. You can read about it here in case you need a reminder as to why you didn't join this profession: https://www.eitc.irs.gov/tax-preparer-toolkit/welcome-to-the-tax-preparer-toolkit
For the last time, we still have to deal with the health insurance stuff. I hope you are prepared with the right documents and answers.
We continue to be sensitive to the foreign bank account issue. If you ever in your life thought about having a foreign bank account, you must disclose that information to the IRS and the Department of Treasury on two separate forms, each of which involves severe penalties for lying or thinking bad thoughts. It's almost that bad. But if you have a foreign bank account or signature authority over a foreign bank account or a foreign retirement account or property in a foreign country, you had better be prepared to report the assets or be subject to some serious penalties. And these guys don't fool around.
Another never-ending hot topic again this year is the phone scam. People get phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS, threatening to have you deported, beheaded or locked in a room with Hillary explaining why the Electoral College was a bad idea. THESE ARE SCAMS. They DO actually threaten to ruin your credit, have you arrested and other bad things if you don't pay by some sort of wire transfer or prepaid debit cards in the next few hours. THESE ARE SCAMS. You can read about them here: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing
But PLEASE keep in mind: The IRS will NEVER call you like that. They ALWAYS start with letters - lots of them - and give you plenty of opportunity to call and discuss your issue, DO NOT call me and yell at me because the IRS is harassing you. It is NOT the IRS. I, myself, have gotten these phone calls. DO please call me or e-mail me and tell me about it, but DO NOT respond to a phone call or an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS. IT'S A SCAM.
There is a tab on this website called "News". There is a dropdown menu there that says "monthly News". For January, 2018, there is a good summary of the features of the new tax law for individuals and businesses. I encourage you to read it.
There is also a lot of good stuff to be found on other tabs here, including advice, calculators and information. Please browse around to further your education.
As tax season progresses and new issues come to light, i will try to come here and update this. In the meantime, we look forward to servicing you (again?) this year. Keep in touch.
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