For about half of the country, preparing your own tax return (instead of hiring a tax professional) is an annual event. There are some great software choices out there to help out. Despite that, it amazes me how many folks still hand prepare their returns though. Hey! With the new Trump Tax Law, that should be easier than before. (Just a few more pages, but that’s another story).
Here are a few thoughts to consider before you mail in that return (or click send with software).
Make sure you’ve included income and deductions from ALL your sources (W-2s, 1099s, etc.) If you miss anything, you can expect to get a notice from the IRS about 30 days after filing.
Double check all Social Security numbers used on all those third party reports (W-2s, 1099s, etc.). If something is wrong, call them for a corrected form.
You still have time to make an IRA and/or HSA contribution. You have until April 15. For IRAs, your potential limit is $5,500 ($6,500 if you are 50 or older). For HSAs, you can put up to $3,450 as an individual or $6,900 for a family. (If you’re 55 or older, you can add $1,000 onto those amounts for HSAs).
Pull up last year’s tax return. Look for deductions you took in 2017 you forgot about in 2018. Look for any forgotten income sources too. Make sure you have included all carryover items (Net Operating Losses, Capital Losses, Passive Losses, etc.).
If you have a smaller than expected refund, or (insert sad face) you owe, consider filing a new W-4 with your employer to have more withheld for 2019.
Consider giving the IRS your bank information to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account. We’ve found refunds come about 4-6 weeks faster if you choose this method. Bonus, you don’t have to go down to a bank to deposit or cash your refund check, you just wake up one day to discover it sitting in your account. Nice!
On the flip-side, consider having your balance due paid directly out of your bank account, rather than writing a check. (You aren’t going to hide your bank information from the IRS, it’s on your check)! This way, you know the IRS got paid, instead of worrying if the Post Office lost your check and then you would be facing penalties and interest owed to the IRS.
Did you hear? Deut 11:32 says, “…you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.”
Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at BullisAndCo.com. Also on Facebook.