For you: 4 September Tax To-Dos
September already? Wow.
It's a month of transition, but also for tax planning. There are the new tax laws, like a revised child tax credit and dependent tax break, as well as a new small business 199-A deduction, that will affect many 2018 filings.
There are old tax provisions that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) killed, like exemptions, miscellaneous business expenses and relocation costs, or restructured, like the limit on deductions of state and local taxes.
And there are the expectations that we'll be able to make all the correct moves to ensure that we get the best benefits from the tax code, both its old and new provisions.
To help with your tax goals, here are four "to-dos" for September.
1. File your 2017 taxes: Each year, millions of taxpayers put off their April tax return task and get an additional six months to fill out and send in their 1040 forms. That's not a bad move if you were awaiting more documents or the deadline sneaked up on you.
But why wait until the absolutely final Oct. 15 due date nears to file? You'll be in no better position than you were almost five months ago. Getting that annoying paperwork out of the way now.
If you qualify for Free File, the online no-cost tax prep and e-filing option is still available.
2. Adjust your withholding: Regardless of when you file last year's return, take note of your tax bill. Did you owe a lot? Or did you get back a larger than expected refund?
Either instance is an indication that you should reevaluate your payroll withholding. And that's especially true this year, since new tax provisions could affect what you owe or get back from Uncle Sam next filing season.
Such paycheck checkups are particularly important for families, thanks to the TCJA changes that apply here, as well as for folks who rely on sharing economy income, which can fluctuate.
3. Make your third estimated tax payment: Those gig workers are among the taxpayers who need to make estimated tax payments.
The third 1040-ES payment for the 2018 tax year is due on Sept. 17. Yes, it's two days later because the usual Sept. 15 deadline is on Saturday this year.
Whether you're a veteran estimated tax filer or new to the process, the table below is a good reminder of the annual deadlines and the income periods they cover.
4. Do your education tax breaks homework: Kids are back in classrooms across the country, but they're not the only ones who need to do some homework. Parents should check out the tax code can help cover some educational expenses.
The new tax laws did, and didn't, affect many tax breaks for education.
The changes apply, among other things, to how 529 plan money can be spent (more options), home equity loans for school costs (that interest is no longer deductible) and popular tax breaks like the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning credits (both are unchanged).
You can find more on these and other school-related tax breaks in look at 8 ways the new tax law does — and doesn't — affect paying school costs.