April is here and the final rush is upon us. The following are some last minute tax tips to keep in mind for the end of this tax season and to prepare you for next tax season (tax year 2019). If you are still in need of professional tax help, please do not hesitate to call us toll free at (888) APRIL-15 or click the green bar to schedule an appointment. But hurry; the April 15th deadline is quickly approaching:
Know Your Withholding: One of the features of the new tax laws was a change in withholding tables resulting in reduced tax withholding for many W2 employees. While reduced withholding increases your weekly paycheck, it also reduces–or in some cases entirely eliminates–your expected refund. Please check with your employer’s accounts department to verify your withholding and make any preferred adjustments.
Extension Filings Are Up: We’ve seen a number of our clients taking a “wait-and-see” approach to these new tax law changes. As such, we’ve seen a large increase in the amount of extensions filed this year. If you haven’t filed yet & owe money to the government, you might want to consider filing an extension. Remember: An extension is only an extension to file your final tax return; it is not an extension to pay the taxes you owe. An estimate of taxes due is sent along with your extension by the deadline.
IRS Filings Are Down: The number of returns submitted to the IRS is down about 2% compared to last year. 2018 was the busiest April R&G Brenner has ever had. We expect an even busier final 2 weeks this year.
Tax Filing Deadline: To make matters worse, the past couple of years we’ve had a couple of extra days to file. Not this year: the final day to file is April 15th. Tax returns must be electronically filed or postmarked by 11:59 pm on 4/15 or you will be subjected to penalties and interest. Remember: This deadline is only if you owe. If you are due a refund you have 3 more years to claim your 2018 refund.
Estimated tax payments were due earlier this week. September 17, 2012, to be exact. The whole point of making estimated payments is not to owe too much at tax time (and end up paying a nasty penalty), especially for those folks who rely on income not subject to withholding (generally, independent contractors and those that are partners in an LLC, LLP or LP or members of S corporations). Now that most of the year has flown by, it’s a good chance to run those numbers to make sure that you’re withholding enough – or too much. You don’t want to err on the side of paying in too much, either. If 2011 wasn’t as banner a year as 2010, you might be paying the IRS too much. A tax pro can help you sort this out in advance so that April 2013 isn’t quite so painful.
The Tax Code is constantly changing. Credits expire, deductions shrink and rates can fluctuate from year to year. For planning purposes, it’s best to know what to expect ahead of time. If you’re trying to plan, knowing when tax breaks for hiring certain employees or making energy efficient improvements to your house expire is useful. A good tax professional can point you in the right direction (with the caveat that Congress is still wont to undo it all at any second).
End of the year planning opportunities are just around the corner.Many taxpayers start thinking about their options in January but many tax savings plans have to be completed in December in order to count for that tax year. If you want to save tax dollars for tax year 2012, in most instances (retirement plan contributions being an exception), you have to act before December 31, 2012 – including the really big ones like getting married. And this doesn’t just apply to individual income taxes: planning for estate and gift taxes, as well as most corporate and partnership taxes, is focused on the same year end: December 31. If you have moves to make by year end, get things going now – and get some help.
Finally, business slows down a little (just a little) at the end of the year for many tax professionals. This might be the best time to get some personal attention if there’s something you’ve been concerned about. Maybe your bookkeeping isn’t terrific and you want to change software packages… or maybe the pencil on your old green ledgers is too hard to read these days and you’re thinking about diving in and trying online accounting. Maybe you’re thinking about contributing to an IRA for your spouse or a 529 savings plan for the kiddos. Maybe you just want to find a new preparer. The very best time to do those things is January 1. But that’s the worst time to start thinking about it – just after the holidays can be hectic. Ask now. Get the facts. Organize. Fill out the papers. Resolve to start fresh.
CORONAVIRUS ALERT: As of April 16th, business hours are 9am-5pm: Monday-Friday. In-person appointments have been suspended until further notice. We are currently accepting Drop-offs or these other remote client filing options.
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