This week I attended a two-day seminar on the new tax laws taking effect for 2019. The sheer number of changes is a little overwhelming. There are new reporting requirements for anyone who files Head of Household status. There is also an expanded due diligence checklist for any taxpayer that claims college expenses, the child tax credit, or the earned income credit. What was touted as tax simplification appears to be anything but!
Itemized deductions for employee business expenses such as meals, travel, and cell phones have been eliminated, as well as the deduction for brokerage account management fees. The credits for buying a hybrid or electric vehicle, as well as the credits for energy proofing your home, have also been eliminated.
For parents who are divorced or separated, the IRS is increasing the audit frequency of claimed dependents. Too many children have been claimed by the wrong parent. The rules are complex, and the IRS has issued guidance that can either be obtained from their website or by consulting with a local tax professional.
For small businesses, the IRS is requiring more documentation for eligible expenses. It is now more important than ever to maintain accurate and detailed records for all business expenses, including auto usage.
Many of the forms have undergone design changes. There are new lines on existing forms, as well as several new forms that taxpayers may need to complete. This year’s tax law seminar manual was over 1,000 pages!
Who said they are making tax preparation simpler?