Changes to look out for in your tax returns

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It is very possible you could walk away this year with a smaller tax refund than usual, according to a local certified public accountant. CPA John Duffield said you should expect the smaller refund, in part, because of fewer deductions. 

More than a year after President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, you could see changes in your tax return. Duffield, who said he and his office staff are working seven-day weeks because the April 15th deadline tax filing deadline is quickly approaching,  wants to make sure you’re aware of how tax laws implemented last year could impact your wallet.

“One of things the federal government did last year is change the tax withholding tables,” he said, adding “…all of us getting paychecks and W2s at the end of the year — I’m seeing there are less federal taxes withheld in paychecks, but one of the things I’m seeing happen is somebody is not getting the same refund they might have been used to historically.”        

NBC News reports most Americans will now take the standard deduction, which has doubled, but many previous deductions are gone; homeowners can deduct state, local, and property taxes only up to $10,000. Moving expenses no longer are deductible except for active duty military service members. Taxpayers can no longer claim a child over 17 as a dependent, however the $2,000 child tax credit is double what it used to be, and you can deduct medical bills if they exceed 7 and a half percent of your income.

Filing your taxes can be a pricey process, which is why local organizations like organizations like the Community Action Partnership of Kern are offering tax filing services for free. Specifically, CAPK’s IRS-certified partner VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, offers low to moderate income people and families free tax return preparation.

“We don’t charge. Instead of paying that $200, $300 or $400, it stays in your pocket, it stays in the county, and it produces more income in the community,” said CAPK VITA Program Manager Sandi Truman 
     
If you think you qualify for the no cost tax return services provided by VITA, you’re encouraged to call 2-1-1 where you will be guided through step-by-step instructions.

Regardless where you get your taxes filed, this Duffield said it’s important to plan ahead.

“The biggest thing I would say is to understand your tax return. The sooner you get that tax return done, you know what that result is, and you can plan the rest of your year accordingly,” he said.

If you are not  able to file your taxes by the April 15 deadline, you could request an extension until October 15.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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