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Tax Time Is Around the Corner! Are You Ready?

Article Highlights:

  • New for 2018

  • Choosing your alternatives

  • Tips for pulling your information together

New for 2018 – There are a number of new complications this year, including:

  • To combat tax fraud, the IRS is requiring all tax preparers to verify their clients’ identity with a government picture ID, although there is an exception for clients if the preparer has had a multi-year business relationship with a client AND has previously verified the client’s identity with a government picture ID. Since that was not previously required, it will be necessary for all clients this year, so be sure to bring a picture ID (also a requirement for a spouse) to your appointment.
     

  • Although the federal government changed its tax rules with the tax reform, many states with state income tax, such as California, have not conformed to the federal changes, which means a separate set of rules may apply to your state and federal tax returns.
     

  • The tax reform added a new 20% deduction for pass-through income from business activities. In some cases, the computation can be very complicated and will take additional time.

Accuracy Even for Details – Make sure you review personal data to ensure the greatest accuracy possible in all detail on your return. Check names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and occupations on last year’s return. Note any changes for this year. Although your telephone number and e-mail address aren’t required on your return, they are always helpful should questions occur during return preparation.

 

Marital Status Change – If your marital status changed during the year, you lived apart from your spouse, or your spouse died during the year, list the dates and details. Bring copies of prenuptial, legal separation, divorce, or property settlement agreements, if any, to your appointment. If your spouse passed away during the year, you should have a copy of his or her trust agreement or will available for review.

 

Dependents – If you have qualifying dependents, you will need to provide the following for each (if you previously provided us with items 1 through 3, you will not need to supply them again):

  1. First and last name

  2. Social security number

  3. Birth date

  4. Number of months living in your home

  5. Their income amounts (both taxable and nontaxable). If your dependent is your child over age 18, note how long the child was a full-time student during the year.

Some Transactions Deserve Special Treatment – Certain transactions require special treatment on your tax return. It’s a good idea to invest a little extra preparation effort when you have had the following types of transactions:

  • Sales of Stock or Other Property
     

  • Gifted or Inherited Property
     

  • Reinvested Dividends
     

  • Sale of Home

  • Purchase of a Home
     

  • Vehicle Purchase
     

  • Home Energy–Related Expenditures
     

  • Identity Theft
     

  • Car Expenses for Business
     

  • Charitable Donations

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Phone:  (310) 869-0038
 

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