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New Tax Laws You Need to Know as You File Your 2018 Tax Return

It’s the day of the year that makes millions of taxpayers nervous, thousands of IRS employees happy and ALL accountants work overtime.

And, all three of those groups should know that tax laws change year to year. There were major changes passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Trump last year that all taxpayers and business owners should know.

Here are some new tax laws (2018) that you should keep in mind as you file your taxes in 2019:

  1. Standard Deductions increased: Married and filing jointly increased from $13,000 to $24,000. Single taxpayers and those who are married and file separately have an increase from $6,500 to $12,000. Heads of households went from $9,550 to $18,000.
  2. Personal Exemption: The $4,050 personal tax exemption has been eliminated.
  3. The top income tax rate changed:  Individuals with incomes of $500,000 or higher will be at the new 37 percent top rate. Those filing jointly at $600,000 or up and married will be at the top rate. (The top tax brackets are found here.)
  4. Child Tax Credit: It is now worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child. The age cut-off is still 17. (Children must be under 17 at the end of the year to claim the credit). The refundable portion is now only $1,400. The earned income threshold for the refundable credit is lowered to $2,500. Phase out for the child tax credit increases in 2018 to $200,000 ($400,000 for joint filers). The phase out applies to the new $500 credit for other dependents. (Child must have a valid SSN to qualify for the $2,000 Child Tax Credit.)
  5. Home Equity Loans: It limits the deductibility of mortgage interest up to $750,000 of debt used to buy a home. It also does not allow deducting the interest on home equity loans
  6. Moving expenses eliminated: Once, over a million taxpayers claimed this deduction. This exemption has been totally scrapped. Only member of the military on active duty can claim this deduction.
  7. Tax Preparation Fees are eliminated: Fees you paid to your accountant or tax preparer were once combined with other miscellaneous deductions and deductible to the extent the total exceeded 2% of your adjusted gross income. Unfortunately, this deduction has also been deleted.
  8. Job expenses: In the past deductions for licenses, medical tests, tools, clothing and equipment were deductible. They can only now be deducted by the employer.
  9. Parking and transit fees: Up to $255 per month from their employer towards parking and transit costs were allowed. Employers could also deduct these reimbursements, which were also tax-free to the employee. Employers can no longer deduct these reimbursements.

So, as you can see, filing your individual, married or business taxes from 2018 will look much different than they did in the past. Many of these changes will make filing less complicated for some and more complicated for others. If you are unsure of what you can claim, consult your licensed tax accountant or tax adviser.

A.K. Burton, PC, has experienced and licensed tax advisers who are quite knowledgeable of the 2018 tax law changes. They can assist you or your business in filing your taxes and also represent you to the IRS. We serve Bethesda, MD and Washington, D. C. Contact us at (301) 365-1974 or info@cpa-maryland.com.  

Not too late to Plan: Year End Tax Planning

Fall is a beautiful time of year. Holidays are around the corner and taxes are the last thing you want to think about. However, certain events can drastically change your tax liability. Now is the time to plan for these changes so that a large tax bill doesn’t sneak up on you.

Just like the leaves changing, things change during the year.A  job promotion, new job, retirement, adding a new family member, or maybe an inheritance are some examples of significant events that may impact your taxes.

tax advisor AK Burton

Here are a few reasons to contact us at A.K. Burton PC for tax planning services:

  1. A change in employment. Any change in your earnings should have you reaching out to our office to discuss the best course of action. For example: when hired, you fill out form W-4 to set your allowances. Do you want one, two, or what does allowances even mean? By discussing the matter with us, we analyze and make the best decision with you.
  2. Form of compensation. For example: a change in how your money is earned such as from an employee earning income that is reported on form W2 to an independent contractor being compensated by form 1099-MISC triggers a significant tax event. Contact our office to discuss the steps that you need to take as an independent contractor. One of those steps is making estimated tax payments based on your income.
  3. Retirement. If you’re looking at retiring it is essential to contact our office and discuss what the change in income will be and what steps you’ve taken so far in the process. There are many options concerning your retirement and tax liability. Be especially cognizant of required minimum distributions once you turn 70 ½ years old. These distributions are required and the withholding that has been set up in the past may not be enough to avoid a tax liability. Contact our office to plan ahead and work to avoid unnecessary surprises.
  4. Capital gains. A large gain from an investment may trigger a nasty surprise depending on your tax bracket and other income. Any significant change in investment income should be discussed with your tax adviser.
  5. Investment property. There are many taxable situations that occur when dealing with a rental property. Many tax rules are not understood by other professionals to the extent of our staff’s knowledge. Before making the decision to sell that condo you’re renting out; contact our office and double check what tax consequences may ensue. It only takes minutes to shoot us an email or give us a call. You’ll be happy you did.

These are only some of the reasons to engage in year end tax planning with your tax advisor. Any significant change in your life should be discussed with your advisor as soon as possible. Year-end tax planning is a great way to wrap up the year and prepare for filing your taxes. At A.K. Burton, PC we specialize in year-end tax planning because it is a service our clients consistently rely on.

A.K. Burton, PC, which serves the Washington,D.C. and Bethesda, MD area, has experienced and licensed individual financial advisers who can help you with your year-end small business tax preparation. Contact us at (301) 365-1974 for more information or email us at info@cpa-maryland.com.