TO: ALL SURVIVORS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CLOSURE,
THE GA BULLDOGS LOSING, THE FALCONS LOSING,
THE BRAVES LOSING, AND GOOD OL’ GA SNOW BLIZZARDS
FROM: R. Daniel McNeely, CPA (770) 594-8796
875 Old Roswell Rd., St F-500 fax(770) 594-7406
Roswell, GA 30076 firstname.lastname@example.org
Here we go once again! Time for you to panic, run to Walmart and buy
file folders and Tupperware boxes to put piles of tax forms and receipts
together. Then spend your perfectly good evening sorting out forms
on your living room watching “The Bachelor” on ABC! TAX TIME!!!
This year, again, we have made it through quite a lot of good news and bad news,
finally culminating in the news that our wonderful government was taking
a small vacation. Fortunately, they opened back up and will soon be back
at full speed, so go ahead and plan that vacation to the Grand Canyon!
Even through all the bad news, lots of good things happened. We had jobs,
we made money, we might have had kids, we might have gotten married
(or unmarried), we saw kids graduate and get jobs and enter the working
world, and we all survived the best way we could. Now what?
We do our taxes! Like the last few years, there have been quite a few
changes to our income taxes. Last minute changes, IDENTITY THEFT
issues, and the government shutdown will cause delays in processing
our returns. The IRS will not even start processing returns until the end
of January and not issue refunds until the end of February. Some tax credits
for some folks and GA refunds may even take up to three months to process!
Fortunately for this year’s tax returns, most folk’s returns will look somewhat similar to last year’s returns. Many of you won't see many differences in the
return for this year compared to last year. As normal, the more you make,
the higher tax bracket you are in, the less credit you get for having kids and
mortgages and making church contributions. My job is to figure all that out
for you, and try not to make you scream at your kids or dog in the meantime!
WHAT MAY AFFECT MOST PEOPLE?
The NEW TAX PLAN will not kick in until next year’s return, as most
of its laws kicked in on January 1, 2018 (more later).
If you HAD insurance through your employer, or you paid for it all year through your own individual plan, and you had it all year, the insurance part probably won’t be a big deal. We dohave to report to the IRS that you did have insurance.
If you HAD NO insurance, or you obtained it by logging into the Insurance
Marketplace (the website that was so slow to work last year), we might have a problem. For those with no insurance, the IRS wants you to pay a small penalty which may cause you to owe when we file the return or will reduce your refund.
For those who USED THE MARKETPLACE to sign up for insurance last year, and especially if you received a reduction or credit in the amount of the monthly medical premiums you had to pay, your refund will probably be affected. If you underestimated your income when you applied for insurance, your refund could be reduced or eliminated in some cases. And the government will be sending you a brand new fancy tax form, a 1095-A, that summarizes all of your insurance activity, which is needed before your return can be done.
IDENTITY THEFT is another big issue this year. The most common problem related to identity theft and income taxes happens when someone uses your Social
Security number and files a “fake” tax return. Then, when you file your
real return, the IRS sends me a nice message that we have a PROBLEM.
Eventually, we get it straight, you get your refund, and all is put back to normal
but it normally takes an extra 6 to 9 months to clear it up! So to combat that
issue, the IRS is doing more checkups on addresses, birthdates, employer
information, etc. and all that will lead to delays in you getting your refund
and possible questions from the IRS. In fact, Georgia has already indicated
they will hold up on refunds for up to 3 months to combat this issue!
I am sending you this tax package, with all of this wonderful information,
to help you prepare your tax documents to bring to me. I really do read updates
and fancy tax books and go to boring seminars to understand all the weird
rules and laws that affect most people. I actually probably know more than
that guy you met on MARTA that said you can deduct the cost of your
entire house as long as you store business files there (you can’t by the way)!
We do keep up with the tax changes, and all the new forms, and all the laws
that affect your taxes. One of my goals is to try and legally reduce how much
the IRS keeps of your hard earned money, while making this process as painless
and simple as possible.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO!
Right now, you are probably getting in the mail all of that junk that says “IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT”, from banks, mortgage companies, brokerages, your employer, etc. Start now by keeping all that stuff in one big file, along with any other documents you may have accumulated over the year pertaining to your taxes. That really prevents you from spending a pretty
Saturday morning digging through your pile of Arby coupons, offers from
internet and cable companies, and all those notices telling you that tree companies
are in your area, looking for important documents that ended up stuck between
the pages of that Better Homes and Garden magazine.
When you start assembling your information, just do your best to gather the documents and shove all the stuff you think might be important into an envelope and bring it all to me, and I will sort it out. Remember, my daughter works at a doctor’s office and I get free samples of aspirin!
Many people simply mail their package to me, or you may just drop it
off at your convenience. If you have questions, or need to go over
events and transactions which happened during the year, please call
and set up a quick drop off appointment. We also have a mail slot for “after hour” drop offs. Remember , the earlier you bring your information in, the earlier I can start working on getting you your BIG PILE OF TAX REFUND MONEY back in your wallet. We do encourage you to drop off your package before March 15
(earlier is better!) to assure timely completion before the dreaded date of April 15.
Even with extra staff working here, and my sleeping on the floor at night here,
and eating any leftover food from Subway the night before, it is almost impossible to even look at last minute returns, let alone finish them on time!!!
In closing, I really appreciate your assistance in this job. I hope I make a stressful job a little bit easier for you. Please call if you have questions, unusual circumstances, or if you need to see me personally to tell me about when you fell down on the ice taking your garbage can out the last time it snowed!
I do look forward to helping save you time, headaches, arguments,
and all the aggravation of working on an entire year’s worth of paperwork
and confusing tax documents. Maybe, just maybe, I will save you enough money for a fun dinner at the QuickTrip roller food counter!
DAN MCNEELY, CPA