Occasionally, I feel like I get into a rut with these articles where it seems like I am writing about the same things over and over. So consider this a short apology for that before I commence doing it again. New tax law is again behind this article, and I’m afraid this may carry right through next tax season as the IRS figures out implementation, and we then react to their reactions.
This time, it’s because the IRS announced last week that its processing systems were reprogrammed to handle three benefits that are common in early tax returns. There are benefits that were renewed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act that was passed on February 9 (just when you thought one big passage affecting taxes was enough).
So first the nuts and bolts. This means that you can still claim the following:
Now what this means in practice:
First, it is only a good thing when extra deductions are allowed. So even if it feels wild that changes are still being made more than a month since the IRS started accepting tax returns (and yes, you are right if you feel this way), at least there is some solace that these are changes that will only positively affect you. More deductions only mean more potential money coming back to you.
Second, however, this means that if you already filed without being able to take these deductions, and they are ones you would have been able to use, then you should file an amended return. If you have not yet filed, you can ignore this, for all will be in order when you submit your return (and we still have many appointments available to help you do this, but that number will steadily decrease over the next six weeks, hint, hint).
If you do need to look into an amended return, this is done with a different form (Form 1040X), and we will be happy to help you with this. Or if you know anyone who did their taxes on their own (or with a preparer that inspires less than full confidence), send them our way and we will help them determine if they missed any deductions for which they could be eligible. Keep in mind, though, that amended returns cannot be filed electronically, and the IRS warns that it could take up to 16 weeks to process them. Sure, it is not convenient, but it is also not that difficult and a way to get yourself some extra money in the not too distant future, so why wouldn’t you do it?
Finally, the IRS also says that it is continually updating its systems to implement any other changes made necessary by the recent act, but those are expected to be more minor and affect a much smaller number of taxpayers. But if anything does happen where you feel your return could be helped by one of those, we will remain ready to help.
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