Last Minute Tips for 2018 Tax Filing Prep and Getting Organized for the 2019 Tax Season

Last Minute Tips for 2018 Tax Filing Prep and Getting Organized for the 2019 Tax Season

February 14, 2019
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If you haven’t started already—you had better get moving, especially if you don’t want to file an extension on reporting your income taxes for 2018. Below are dates and other important items to help you complete any last-minute tasks and to motivate you for beginning 2019 with tax preparation and organization in mind!

Important Income Tax Dates:

2018

  • 2018 income tax filing deadline for individuals: April 15
  • 2018 extensions are due: October 15
  • Last day to make a 2018 contribution to your traditional or Roth IRA: April 15
  • Last day to make 2018 payments to SEP IRA or Keogh plan: when you file or at the time your extension is due on October 15

2019

  • First quarter 2019 estimated tax payment due: April 15
  • Second quarter estimated tax payment due: June 17
  • Third quarter estimated tax payment due: September 16

Finalize Your 2018 Files and Figures for Your CPA

What to discuss with your CPA

  • Did you move?
  • Have you changed jobs?
  • Did you get married or divorced?
  • Has your tax bracket changes under the new laws?
  • What deductions do you qualify for?

Documents to give your CPA

  • Paycheck stubs
  • Mortgage payment and interest statement
  • Closing documents on home purchases
  • Receipts for anything you can claim as itemized deductions (supplies, services, etc.)
  • Charitable donation receipts
  • Mileage logs for cars used during business travel
  • Receipts for business travel (entertainment, lodging, food and drink)
  • Credit card and bank statements
  • Copies of medical bills
  • 1099-G forms to file for state and local taxes
  • 1099 forms to file for dividend or other income

A Few Credits and Deductions You Should Know About

Did you fund an education in 2018?

There are a few credits and deductions you may be eligible for to offset the cost of education. The two most common ones are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. There are income limits for eligibility so consult with your tax professional to find out if you qualify.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit rate is unchanged for 2018. This tax credit enables you to claim qualified expenses of up to $2,500 for each qualifying college student in your family.

The Lifetime Learning Credit allows you to claim qualified educational expenses up to $2,000 per tax return. This includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and education for to learn or improve job-related skills. Qualified expenses include tuition and other costs for any student actively enrolled in an eligible institution.

Standard deductions and personal exemptions

Individual filers are going to realize an increase in their standard deduction by $5,500, bringing their deduction amount to $12,000. If you are married filing jointly, you get an $11,000 increase in your standard deduction, for a total of $24,000. Heads of household standard deduction is $18,000.

Personal exemptions for 2018 are eliminated.

Deductions for medical expenses

Thankfully, under the new tax law we get a bit of relief for deductions this year. Individuals can claim deductions if they have medical expenses that total over 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. This applies to years 2017 – 2018 but reverts back to 10% for 2019.

Itemized deductions

This limit for individuals to claim itemized deductions for 2018 starts at $266,700 and at $320,000 for married couples filing jointly.

These changes are just the highlights we think you should know. Of course, your tax liability and preparation both depend on your individual (or married!) situation. We strongly encourage you to seek the help of a professional to navigate these changes sufficiently before filing your income tax. You don’t want to miss a potential break you may be entitled to!

Get Organized Early in 2019 to Make Tax Prep Easier!

  • Discuss any changes your final 2018 return presented that may cause you to change strategies in 2019.
  • Decide if you want to make changes to your paycheck withholdings to relieve your tax liability or cause you to get a refund.
  • Organize and file your financial and tax documents so they are easy to find when 2019 tax prep begins. Refer to the list above to determine the records you keep track of.

 

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax advice. Please seek counsel from your tax professional to ensure proper preparation and filing of your income taxes.