I do suppose I’ve been too nice towards the IRS lately.
(Oh no, did I just get myself on some list by saying that?)
The agency has made moves recently that seemed more taxpayer-friendly. One of these was its working toward a postcard-sized 1040 form. And if this was really possible, it could be seen as a friendly act. But then there was the fact that the draft wasn’t quite postcard-sized, other forms likely would have had to be involved for a full return, and of course it didn’t actually make the tax rules any easier. This all came out of rhetoric in the wake of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. No matter how you feel about the content of that act, its claim that it was going to help make tax returns easier takes a big hit now that the plans for this postcard-sized form have been scrapped.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that a new 1040 form was in draft form, but didn’t quite realize at the time that meant the quiet death of that postcard sound bite. My point when writing then, though, was that the tax landscape did not suddenly become simple, and this just confirms that point.
And since things aren’t simple, let this be a reminder for those whose 2018 tax return is on an extension that you are starting to run low on time. I know that most of you in this situation are groaning and saying you still have a couple months left. I’ll counter in a clearer voice, though, to say that if you take it back to February, you’ve had six months to get it done and still haven’t, so two more isn’t that much.
It is not a bad time to remember how difficult the system can be for those looking toward next year, too. It is easy to groan in that situation, too. You filed your tax return months ago and are glad that you don’t have to think about it for months more. But do you know what your tax return is going to look like when it does come time to file again?
If you do, and you are happy with what is going to look like, great, you do get the chance to sit for a few months and not give any more thought to the topic. If you do, and you are not happy with what the return is going to look like, then this is the time when you can still put some plans in place to make it look a little bit better.
And for those who do not know what their tax return is going to look like, maybe it is time to make an appointment and see whether or not you will be happy with what it is going to look like. This is especially important if you have had any life changes that are will affect the return (change in marital status, new job, new salary, new child, etc.).
For this road is never simple, but we can help you travel down it.
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