If your New Year’s resolutions have already started to slip away (how many times have you been to the gym?), you still have plenty of time to achieve a financial win by preparing for the 2018 tax season, starting right now. Getting an early jump on things can save you time, money, and a bit of sanity. Learn how to get going below.
Do you know your tax bracket? Maybe it hasn’t changed in years, or perhaps you just got a raise. Either way, you might see a change due to recent tax reform – tax bracket income limits have been increased by 2 percent. Confirm which tax bracket you will fall in for 2018; depending on your financial situation, including deductions, credits, exemptions and so on, you may end up paying less in taxes than you have in the past, even if not much has changed.
Many taxpayers struggle with choosing standard versus itemized. Historically, those that are self employed and/or have higher incomes typically go the itemized route to lower their taxes and maximize their return. In 2018, the choice might become easier or perhaps more difficult; the standard deduction has increased to $6300. Depending on your previous strategy, this might make choosing the standard deduction easier, but it also might be too close to call. Think about which deductions you’ll take now to save stress at the end of the year. Make sure you consider medical, charitable, state and local, mortgage, and losses to your home or business.
Business expenses can be a big headache for your average professional, since there are typically several to keep track of. Remember that you can deduct company travel, home office expenses, mileage and repairs to your vehicle, business supplies, and accommodation and entertainment related to business. If you haven’t been collecting receipts, retroactively do so, and remember to record as you go in preparation for providing proof of these expenses. It’s best to have a physical and digital copy of these receipts in case you lose track of all of those pieces of paper.
Everyone knows that personal returns are due April 15th (usually) of every year, but business owners and those that are self employed might have to pay quarterly taxes; returns are due on the 15th of the last month of every quarter. As a business owner, if you expect to pay more than $1,000 in tax at the end of the year, you must file quarterly. If you’re self employed and not subject to tax withholding, the same applies. Not paying quarterly taxes can result in a penalty fee, so confirm if you meet the requirements sooner than later – the next quarterly tax deadline in just around the corner.
Thinking about all of the above now will help you maintain organization and clarity throughout the year for an easy filing. Even if you don’t pay quarterly taxes, evaluate your financial circumstances that will impact your tax filing every quarter and prepare questions for consultations with your tax professional.
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