Here comes tax season. Need help?

| 21 Feb 2018 | 01:17

By Rose Sgarlato
The taxman is coming, with April 17 less than eight weeks away.
Starting the process early is a good first step towards filing your taxes in the most effective way, according to Robert Charlton, CPA, and partner at Nisivoccia LLP in Newton.
“The sooner you pull information together, your tax professional can figure out what your tax situation is. They may see something that can affect 2018 also. If you wait too long, potential opportunities may be missed,” Charlton said.
He adds that taking the time to look at your 2016 return before filing 2017 is also beneficial.
Trump’s major reform enactment of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed on in December 22, 2017 impacts individuals and businesses effective for tax years beginning in 2018.
In the interim Charlton and his team at Nisivoccia list below some transactions that can be made now to impact 2017 taxes:
• Contributions to their IRA accounts can be made up until the filing deadline, April 17 or October 15 (if they file an extension). Contributions to a simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA or Keogh Plan will lower your taxable income for the filing year.
• The old requirement that medical expenses are deductible to the extent that they exceed 10% of adjusted gross income has been relaxed for 2017 to allow a deduction for qualified medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of AGI.
“So individuals incurring significant medical costs should consider how this change impacts their 2017 returns,” Charlton said.
• The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 enacted on February 9, 2018 allows for an exclusion from gross income resulting from the discharge of qualified principal resident indebtedness through 2017.
“Up to the passage of this legislation, such forgiveness of indebtedness was to be included in taxable income for 2017,” he said.
On another very important note is the subject of IRS fraud scams. In Charlton’s 30 years with the firm, he has seen an increase of scammers due to the internet.
“Clients have filed tax returns using their information to be told that their taxes were already filed. Don’t respond to anyone,” he said.“Phone calls continue to be one of the most common ways that thieves try to get taxpayers to provide personal information. Scammers then use the information to gain access to the victim’s bank or other accounts. “
Charlton elaborates here: Important things to know to avoid IRS fraud scams
• The IRS will never contact you by phone, they will use regular mail. They won’t ask you for personal or payment information. Beware of scammers who alter their caller ID information to say “IRS”.
• The IRS will never use scare tactics, threaten or intimidate you. They won’t demand immediate payment, say you owe money, threaten to call the police. The IRS will send you a bill through the mail. They will allow you to question and appeal the amount that you owe.
• You can report any scams directly with the IRS Impersonations Scam Reporting web page
Being aware that fraud is out there 12 months of the year and not just before filing is also relative.
The best advice that Charlton may have is to find a competent tax professional.
“ Somebody well versed and creative who could apply his or her knowledge and maximize a client’s situation.”
Nisivoccia LLP, Certified Public Accountants & Advisors is located at 11 Lawrence Road, Newton. they have another office in Mount Arlington. Contact Robert Charlton at 973-383-6699. For more information: