How to Prepare for Tax Season in the Current Climate

February 21, 2018

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has substantially reformed the tax code moving forward. Because it was made effective immediately, the new law has businesses and individual taxpayers scrambling to understand all the law’s implications. The IRS has now provided guidance that should resolve most of the questions taxpayers have and give businesses the information they need to withhold the correct employment taxes.

Given all the drama surrounding the new tax legislation, it might be easy to forget that you still have to file tax forms and pay any tax due from 2017. With tax season already here, you may want to keep in mind a number of items as you prepare this year’s tax returns.

Due Dates for Filing 2017 Taxes

Tax returns for most individual filers are due on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. You actually get a couple of extra days this year because (a) April 15, the normal deadline, falls on a Sunday, and (b) the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day on Monday, April 16, which affects taxes the same way federal holidays do.

Tax returns for C corporations (on Form 1120) for December 31 year-end corporations are due April 17, 2018. If a corporation has a different year-end date, it must file by the fifteenth day of the fourth month after the end of its tax year.

Tax returns for sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs (pass-through income on Schedule C) are also due on April 17, 2018.

Tax returns for multiple-member LLCs (on Form 1065 with Schedule K-1), though, are due March 15, 2018.

Tax returns for partnerships (on Form 1065 with Schedule K-1) or S corporations (on Form 1120 S) are also due on March 15, 2018.

Gather Your Documentation

It’s not too early to begin getting your records and paperwork in order. Make sure you have all of your  W-4s, 1099s and any other forms you need. These should be furnished to you by February 15. Tabulate your income and deductions as dictated by your return.

If you have employees or use contractors and are filing business taxes, you should already have sent out the appropriate W-4s and 1099s. You will also want to ask your employees to turn in any year-end expense accounts early enough so that you have time to reconcile them with your accounts.

Contribute to Your Retirement Plan

It’s not too late to make a contribution to your retirement plan for 2017. You can make 2017 IRA contributions until April 17, 2018. Review the 2017 IRA contribution and deduction limits to make sure you are taking full advantage of the opportunity to save for your retirement.

Make an Appointment With Your Accountant

If you hire an accountant to help you prepare your tax forms, make an appointment as early as possible. Accountants are especially busy this year. At the same time as they are churning through the usual busy tax season, they are trying to learn the finer points of the new tax laws in order to properly advise their clients. Make sure you give your accountant plenty of time to properly prepare your returns.

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