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Are you prepared to file your federal income tax return?

It's that time of year again. Missouri residents are beginning to file their federal income tax returns as they do every year, but this year isn't really routine. The new tax laws go into effect for the 2018 tax season, and you may be among those who could experience some confusion.

You probably know that the standard deduction has increased, and that may give you hope of a larger refund, but the changes to the tax code either reduced or eliminated other money saving deductions. You may need some help in order to make sure that you pay no more in taxes than absolutely necessary, which is everyone's goal at this time of year.

Gather your documents

Depending on your situation, it could take some time for you to receive all of the documentation you need in order to file your tax returns. Your employer should have a W-2 or 1099-MISC to you by Jan. 31. If you do not have all the documents you believe you need to file your taxes, you need to act quickly as the April 15 deadline is fast approaching. You need to have everything in hand before attempting to move forward since other documents could change your tax liability.

Other than income, you will also need any forms that could provide you with deductions. For instance, you may find yourself waiting for documentation regarding the following:

  • Student loan interest
  • Mortgage interest
  • Child care expenses
  • Charitable donations
  • Property taxes
  • Education and tuition costs

Since the standard deduction increased significantly beginning this tax year, you may need to compare your tax savings with or without itemizing. Estimates indicate that during the 2017 tax season, around 30 percent of filers itemized. For this tax season, sources estimate that percentage will drop to about 10 percent.

Gather your thoughts and support

Before the recent tax reforms, you more than likely had questions regarding the tax code. Even so, you may have fallen into a pattern when filing your taxes where you felt comfortable that you knew how the system worked and what would provide you with the best outcome.

That may have changed for this tax season. The fact is that you will probably need help determining whether you will itemize or use the standard deduction since so many things have changed for this tax year. Otherwise, you could end up in trouble with the IRS.

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Ste. Genevieve Office
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