2018 Tax Year Update

We hope that 2018 has been a happy and prosperous year for you and your family. Enclosed is your annual organizer for your 2018 taxes. It’s been an interesting year with a few important tax changes that will impact you. Here are some of the changes and issues you need to know about.

Remember tax return due date changes: Beginning two years ago, for federal and California tax purposes, the due dates for partnership and C corporation returns changed. Please remember the new return due dates:

  • Partnerships must file returns by the 15th day of the third month following the close of the taxable year (March 15 for calendar-year taxpayers);
  • C corporation returns are generally due by the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the taxable year (April 15 for calendar-year taxpayers);
  • S corporation returns will remain due by the 15th day of the third month of the taxable year (March 15 for calendar-year taxpayers); and
  • W-2s and 1099s must be filed by January 31, 2019, for the 2018 year.

Tax reform: The largest tax reform bill in 30 years took effect in 2018 and all taxpayers will see major changes in their tax returns this year. The key points are:

  • Some taxpayers will pay less tax, but due to problems with the IRS’s published withholding tables, many taxpayers will be underwithheld on their paychecks;
  • Our firm has spent a great amount of time and resources staying on top of massive volume of new laws and forms. As such, tax preparation fees across our entire industry are increasing and our firm is no different. Our fee increase will be commensurate with the amount and types of tax law changes that affect you.

We recommend that you book your appointment as early as possible so we can head off any issues and so we can implement tax planning opportunities well before the tax filing deadline.

Identity theft: Tax refund fraud and identity theft are an increasing problem. Please remember these tips:

  • The IRS does not call you about collection or balances due. In fact, the IRS will generally only call if you are working with an employee on an audit or other issue. If you get one of these calls, hang up immediately; and
  • If you receive an official looking bill for a small amount — maybe $200 or so. You decide it’s easier to just pay the bill than to contact our office about it. Please let us know any time you receive correspondence from the IRS or the State of California. In the most recent fraudulent letters, you are told to make out a check to “I.R.S.” rather than to “United States Treasury;” and the return address does not match the processing center address posted on the IRS website.

Property transactions: Did you sell any real estate this year? Be sure to provide copies of escrow statements, as well as the Loan Estimate form, the Closing Disclosure form, and California Form 593, Real Estate Withholding Tax Statement. We need these documents to properly prepare your return. If you can get them to us as early as possible, we can make sure we have everything we need, and that any state withholding documentation is correct.

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies: With the rapid fluctuation in value of virtual currencies and the recent ability to trade Bitcoin futures, the IRS is placing special scrutiny on these transactions. Please advise whether you have bought, sold, sent, or received any virtual currencies in the last few years.

1099s and K-1s: If you received 1099s or K-1s from investments in 2018, we may extend your return in case these documents are corrected after the original filing deadline. We are seeing increasing numbers of corrected information returns, which require taxpayers to amend their original tax returns to reflect the corrected amounts. In some cases, the amounts are vastly different and can create additional costs in amending the tax returns and potential penalty problems.

Foreign accounts: We must report overseas assets owned by businesses as well as individuals. So, the reporting requirements are increasing and the penalties for failure to report continue to be harsh. Not all foreign holdings must be reported. If, for example, you hold stock in a foreign company through a U.S. broker, those holdings do not have to be separately reported. However, if you hold any other types of foreign assets, including bank accounts and securities accounts, please let us know. If you have any doubt as to whether any of your assets are foreign, please discuss those assets with us. Again, this year we will need information on a business’ foreign holdings as well.

Deadline and Extensions: The filing deadline for the tax returns is April 15, 2019. In order to meet this filing deadline, we must receive your information in substantially complete form by April 1st.

If an extension of time to file us required, we will use the information available to us at the time to prepare the extension. To prepare a valid, accurate extension, we need as much information as is available. We also need your express approval to file the extension on your behalf. An extension, however, only provides you with an extension to file, not an extension to pay. Taxes paid after April 15 will result in late-payment penalties and interest.

 

Please take extra care in preparing your organizer and documentation so we can do the best possible job to find new tax benefits that are hidden in the law and protect you from more aggressive audit programs and larger penalties.

 

Yours truly,

D&Q Tax and Consulting

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