Prepare for changes in tax filling

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2019

Two veterans of the tax preparation business say that citizens should be aware that there have been changes for this year’s tax season.

H&R Block of Picayune’s Sandy Wickliffe and Sylvia Goodman, who have almost 50 years of tax preparation experience between them, said there have only been a few surprises some were not quite prepared for due to the newest changes to tax laws.

“I think the biggest thing is not having to use the 2106-form which is Unreimbursed Employee Expenses,” Wickliffe said. “That has hit truck drivers particularly hard.”

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This year, the standard deduction for individuals nearly doubled to $12,000, which has made itemization almost useless for many.

“This year some are getting more and some are getting less,” Wickliffe said. “There are no personal exemptions anymore. So, if you have six kids it doesn’t benefit you quite as much as it would have before.”

Goodman agreed the 2106-form is what has affected people the most this year.

“There is also something called the Business Qualified Deduction, which is brand new this year,” she added. “That is a deduction for small businesses that allow them to deduct up to 20 percent of their taxable income. The corporate tax rate went down permanently. So to help small businesses, they are allowing this deduction.”

The two professionals say there are a few things taxpayers need to be prepared for when they get ready to file.

“They need to know whether they had (health) insurance all year,” Goodman said. “There is still a possible penalty if they didn’t have it all year. A lot of people don’t remember if they had it all year.”

Wickliffe said if health insurance was issued by a marketplace, the taxpayer must have Form 1095-A, “because there is a possibility they may have to pay some of that back.”

She said the taxpayer does not have to have the form if their health insurance was provided by an employer or the government.

“But if it is from a marketplace, we have to have the 1095-A in order to complete the return,” Wickliffe said. “It’s required.”