Often lost in the excitement of large-scale tax change is how they can negatively impact some individual situations. Check out the questions below to see if you might be in for a tax surprise this year.
•Will you pay more than $10,000 in state and local taxes?
Previously, you could take a full deduction for all state income, sales and property taxes as an itemized deduction. That deduction is now capped at $10,000 per year. Take a look at your 2017 itemized deductions to see if your state and local taxes were greater than the new cap. If so, you will now lose any excess amount over $10,000 as a deduction.
•Do you pay for work expenses?
Before this year, employees were able to deduct work expenses (business mileage, uniforms, continuing education and other non-reimbursed expenses) as an itemized deduction. These deductions are now gone. If you typically pay for job related expenses, you might be on the hook for more taxes. Employees who deduct business use of their homes may be impacted even more.
•Do you own a small business?
There are many business tax changes for 2018. Bonus depreciation and Section 179 expensing are expanded, the domestic production activities deduction is eliminated, and there is a new qualified business income deduction for pass-through entities. It is a near certainty that one or more of these changes will affect your business taxes.
•Did you adjust your withholding allowances?
When the tax cuts were finalized, the IRS adjusted the withholding tables as best they could to fit with your current allowances. As a result, your take-home pay likely increased earlier this year. However, based on a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as many as 21 percent of taxpayers will unknowingly underwithhold their taxes throughout the year. If you are one of these people, you will have a tax bill and maybe some penalties to pay next April. It would be time well spent to double-check your withholding for 2018.
•Do you have children?
Some good news! The Child Tax Credit is now double to $2,000 per child versus $1,000 last year. The income limits for the credit are also raised significantly to $200,000 Adjusted Gross Income for single status and $400,000 AGI for married couples. In many cases, the additional credit will actually offset the loss of the personal exemption that you could take for yourself, your spouse and children in the past.
Now is a great time to do an assessment of your situation in light of the new tax changes.
Barry J. Pierce is a CPA in Kaufman.