Tax Preparation for Everyone 

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What You Need to Know This Year

Just when you thought you understood tax filing, Uncle Sam went and shook things up. Well, don’t worry. We’ll help you understand how this year’s tax changes affect you.
  1. Your standard deduction just doubled.

    Yes, that’s right. Standard deductions have gone from $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers and $12,700 to $24,000 for a married couple filing together.

  2. But there are fewer itemized deductions.

    We hear ya. Boo! You’ll notice the IRS killed many popular deductions, such as moving and job hunting expenses. But it might not be all that bad. Since your standard deduction is higher, you probably wouldn’t have to claim these anyway.

  3. Oh, and there’s a new cap on property, income and sales taxes.

    In the good old days (like last year), you could claim an unlimited amount of these taxes. Now, you can only claim up to $10,000.

  4. But, hey! There’s good news. There were big changes for taxpayers with kids.

    Finally! The kids are paying off! You now have $2,000 per qualified child. That’s double what you had in previous years.

  5. And debt just got dumber.

    You used to be able to deduct up to $100,000 off the interest on home equity loans (loans you can take out against your home). Well, the IRS finally stomped out that debt-supporting deduction.

Should you self-file or use a tax pro?

Tax Terms Explained 

  • What is a tax credit?

    A tax credit reduces the amount you owe to the government, regardless of your tax bracket. For example, if you owe $2,500 to the IRS but qualify for a $2,000 child tax credit, the total amount you would owe is $500.

  • What is a tax deduction?

    Simply put, a tax deduction lowers your taxable income, which, in turn, lowers your tax liability. For example, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction will knock $250 off your taxes. 

  • What is a tax exemption? 

    You mean, "what was a tax exemption?" Unfortunately, under the new tax reform, you can no longer make personal and dependent exemptions. 

  • What is a CPA? 

    A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) gives individuals and families advice on taxes and financial planning. They must pass state-specific exams, meet experience requirements, and have earned a high level of education. 

  • What is an EA? 

    An Enrolled Agent (EA) represents you before the IRS if you are audited. They must pass a comprehensive IRS examination that covers both individual and business tax returns. 

  • What’s the difference between the standard deduction and itemized tax deductions? 

    Itemized deductions are a list of deductions you qualify for (like medical expenses and charitable donations). The standard deduction is the one everyone gets: $24,000 for marrieds filing jointly and $12,000 for single filers. 

Get the Tax Preparation Checklist

Make sure you have everything you need to get your taxes done right. Use this checklist to get started.

Think You Should Work With a Tax Pro?

You don’t want just anybody doing your taxes. We can put you in touch with a tax professional in your area, someone with a reputation for excellent service and advice. Schedule an appointment with a tax pro today!

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