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The deadline for filing 2018 tax returns is midnight, April 15, 2019. This means that it’s time to get your returns in order and ensure you’ve applied for all the right deductions under the new laws. This is especially important if you’re filing your tax returns online, so read on for our top tips about handling tax deductions.
Did you know that you may qualify for more than one tax filing status? You may be classed as the head of the household, which is one filing status. But, you may also be classed as married, filing jointly. Check with the IRS which status will result in the lowest tax.
Weigh up whether you will have a larger deduction by sticking with the standard tax deduction or itemizing all deductions. The standard deduction for singles has been increased for the 2018 tax year to $12,000. It’s double that for married couples who file jointly. So, it’s only worth doing an itemized deduction if your individual items total more than the appropriate standard amount.
2017 was the last year for many types of deductions, although some may possibly reappear in 2025. Filers who previously used unreimbursed employee expenses or job search expenses can’t claim for these anymore. This removes any option to ‘cut and paste’ from previous years’ returns. Another big change is casualty losses. This has been removed completely, so you can’t make a deduction for any personal losses during 2018 caused by natural disaster, accident or a fire.
If you’re really unsure about your deductions, ask for help from someone in the know or a tax or finances expert. The changes in the law can be confusing, so many people will be seeking help before April 2019. Alternatively, there are some tax dedicated software programs out there that will calculate your deductions for you. Some of these programs promise to pay any IRS fines if they get it wrong, so do check the terms and conditions before you invest in one of these services. Read our review of the best online tax services to learn more.