By: Andrea Moyer
It has taken me until as recently as 10:00 this morning to actually sit down and think about my income taxes. Every year my husband and I make vows to one another as solemn and unshakeable as our wedding vows to have our taxes filed no later than January 31st. Every year we fail. We’re simply not motivated enough to get our taxes filed early. This year, however, might prove to give us the motivation we need: the present government shutdown.
It’s real and it’s happening and it’s kind of sad that we seem to need this level of severity just to get our taxes done, but when life hands you lemons...
There are a few things we need to know about how the shutdown will affect income taxes, should it extend into tax season.
What to expect
- Delays! The shutdown will affect the timeliness of your return, so immediate filing is recommended. While the IRS is expected to recall some of its employees, at the moment it is operating with about 12% of its workforce. Don’t wait for things to return to normal before you file.
- This is the first year that taxpayers will see the effects of the tax law passed in December 2017. Most significantly, you’ll see changes in a larger standard deduction, a capped SALT deduction and increased tax credit for children and adult dependents.
What you can do
- Gather documents. Pulling out last year’s return will help you get a better feel for your present tax situation (life and address changes, business changes, etc.)
- If you have employees, they will need W-2 forms. Independent contractors get 1099 forms.
- Decide how you’re going to file. Will you be filing yourself or will you be working with an accountant? Will you file online or via mail? E-filing is highly recommended should the shutdown continue and so is having your return direct deposited.
- Mark your calendar with important tax dates:
- January 29 Early file date – this is when the IRS will begin accepting returns
- January 31 Deadline for employers to mail out W-2 forms and for businesses to send 1099 statements
- March 15 Tax returns for LLCs and S-corporations are due.
- April 15 This is the last day you can file your taxes electronically or postmark your paper taxes.
- File early! The IRS will begin accepting returns as early as January 29th and while there’s no possible way to guarantee when you’ll get your return, this will put you in a queue and avoid any additional delays.
Once again, E-filing and direct deposit are highly recommended so that you can get your return as quickly as possible. Good luck and I hope these tips will help make an otherwise dreary chore a little less burdensome!