Often throughout the year when I write about taxes, I know that many people don’t really want to hear about such things. I keep doing it, though, because I know that if I bring up topics that someone is worried about, we can help them. It may not be for everyone, but it is very important for someone. Lately, however, it seems that everyone is thinking and talking about taxes.
I can thank Congress for that as it passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of last year, just before people have to start thinking about taxes as we enter filing season. That combination has been a type of perfect storm that has raised so many questions. I don’t want to spend my time this week answering any specific questions, but I did want to address the situation in general.
First, if you feel confused by any of this, that is okay. One of the reasons people do not always enjoy thinking about taxes, after all, is that they are complicated. So sure, the recent legislation is complicated, but taxes have always been so. It is not as if a new world has been established that you will not be able to navigate. (And you know someone who can help you get through, too, don’t you?)
Second, know that all the new rules do not apply to the taxes you will soon be filing for 2017. Anything you did last year to keep yourself in the position you wanted to be in when it came to taxes will still have been good moves. If you are worried about how any new rules will affect you in the future, however, let’s talk. It is still January, so we have time to plan in ways that will have you where you want to be under the new rules.
Last, if instead you find yourself in a position where you have not paid much attention to the whole situation, that can be okay. Through all of this, the fact that many people will experience minimal impact can be lost, but do not ignore it out of fear and anger. When looked at through partisan eyes, some think the new act is the path to prosperity, and others believe it is sending us to ruin. If you look at it through practical eyes, however, it just means there are new rules governing what your tax obligation will be.
The latest act has involved lots of changes, but it did not institute a wholly new system. You have made it through the tax system in the past, and you will make it through again. There is no new standard that is going to put anyone in a position where they can no longer meet or understand their obligations.
This does not mean that everyone needs to like the fact that this legislation passed, but all now must follow it. Anger and fear will only clouds things as we do so. We have been here for you before, when taxes could be a complicated and confusing mess, and we remain here for you now, when taxes can still be a complicated and confusing mess.
To ensure we don't make the folks at the IRS ornery, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.