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Check to see if new tax law affects you, says IRS

The Internal Revenue Service has released new publications to update taxpayers on the changes they need to know about on their 2018 return.

“For individuals, a new publication, it’s number 5307,” said Michael Devine. “It’s titled Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families. This is only available online. You cannot order it and have one mailed to you. It’s only available on the website. For people who are in business, the sister publication to that is 5318.”

These are short documents. For many taxpayers, their returns will become simpler because with an increase in the standard deduction, they won’t have to itemize anymore.

“The standard deduction nearly doubled,” said Devine. “For a single person, it went from $6,350 to $12,000. For a married couple filing jointly, now it’s $24,000. We think that the increased standard deduction coupled with other changes, means that about half of the people who itemized last year, because they had mortgage interest or charitable contributions or state and local taxes, they’re just going to be able to use the standard deduction this year, which is going to make filing a lot easier for them.”

The change is so large that everyone should look at it closely.

“It is probably best to actually do a comparison and find out whether using the standard deduction is better than itemizing,” said Devine. “I use a tax software that I’ve used for years and I was totally surprised when I put the information in and I’m watching and I’m waiting for it to kick over to itemize and it never did, basically saying, nope, this year, you’re going to be better off using the standard deduction.”

Using the standard deduction means you don’t have to prove the individual deductions, either, which has its own value in taking less time to process paperwork.

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