It feels almost unreal, but it is true – tax time is finally here. The filing season officially opened on Monday, January 28, which came with the added benefit of happening after the cessation of the government shutdown. Now of course, if this means the IRS was back up to full speed on Monday is unknown, and there is the lingering threat that we may only be a short time away from another shutdown. Regardless, though, we are full on into it being time to file.
This current tax season carries an extra touch of unreality because it seems that we have been getting ready for it even before last tax season began. As soon as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts was passed at the end of 2017, last year almost became a prologue to when everything changed in 2019.
And yes, it’s true that in some way everything has changed. In all likelihood, your tax return is not going to look the same as it did last year. In other ways, though, not all that much has changed.
A big thing that should not change is the way that you prepare to file your taxes. Over the last couple of weeks, you have probably started to receive necessary tax forms in the mail. Hold onto them all. For some out there, it is true that they may not be as crucial as they were in the past (e.g. charitable donations may not matter if you now are taking the larger standard deduction), but you will not know if they matter or not unless you give them a shot. It is a good general rule that you can never have too much documentation.
Along those lines, it is now also time to get the paperwork together that does not come in the mail. This could be receipts, utility bills, or anything else that you ever used to prepare your tax return in the past. Yes, after we do this latest return it may turn out that some of those things are no longer necessary, but again, we will not know until we put all the numbers together.
For that is another thing that has not changed, our commitment to seeing that you file a tax return that uses the system to your greatest advantage. We hope that in the past you have been extremely satisfied with our work, and are confident that has been the case. And we work to see that you continue to feel that way as we work together under the new rules.
So get all those documents together now so we can continue on this journey. I know that it feels early before we even get to February (which can also mean that you do not yet even have access to all those necessary documents), but April 15th comes faster than we expect. I mean, it happens every year and still always seems surprising. So be proactive, and know that the sooner you make your appointment with us to get that return done, the better chance you have to get in at the times most convenient to you.
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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.