Tax experts say get ready for changes, start 2018 returns early

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-01 18:05:49-05

BOZEMAN – People filing their 2018 taxes might notice some changes this year due to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act President Donald Trump signed into law in December of 2017.

Among the changes, the act lowered tax rates and doubled the standard deduction. According to Bozeman H&R Block Owner Steffanie Haring, these changes also mean many people could see less of a return than in previous tax years.

“We do unfortunately anticipate that,” said Haring. “A lot of people might have some surprise when it comes to filling this year.”

Haring urges people to start gathering their receipts and document now before it is too late.

“Finding that out in February so you have a couple of months to prepare if you owe in April is much nicer than finding out on April 10 and having to pay that balance five days later,” said Haring.

Even with the new laws, tax attorney Joel Silverman has eight tips for people wanting to minimize their taxes. They are:

Maximize your 401k.
Fully fund any health saving accounts.
Have a 529 educational saving plan if you have children.
Sell bad investments and hold onto profitable ones.
Make any charitable donations you had planned on by the end of the year.
See if your boss will defer any holiday bonus until the start of 2019.
Pay property taxes in 2018.
Make sure you have been paying the correct amount of taxes.

“What it also does for you is it gets your mindset starting your year out the right way, which is being cognizant of what you are spending money on and what your goals are for the next year,” said Silverman.

Both Silverman and Haring said by far the most important thing people can do to prepare is to start early.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News