We’re just five days away from the tax filing deadline, making for a busy season for CPAs like Trent Benedetti, owner of Benedetti and Associates in Santa Maria.
“It’s common in the tax business to be a little crazy the closer you get to April 15th. People are (coming in) unsure. There’s a lot of changes in the tax law this year,” Benedetti said.
Several new changes were ushered in this year in by the Trump administration.
“The 2018 taxes, what we’re working on right now, is probably one of the biggest changes in the tax code since I’ve been doing practice. When Ronald Reagan took office in the 80s, there was a tax change and this is probably the most significant tax change since then,” Benedetti said.
Experts say there are a number of changes people need to be aware of.
“This year, they eliminated miscellaneous itemized deductions, so a lot of people that were getting deductions for tools and equipment and expenses they spent on their job are getting eliminated. I’m also finding a lot of people not understanding the qualified business income deduction,” Benedetti explained.
Benedetti says many of his clients have been able to get more breaks on their taxes this year with these changes; however, several people we spoke to weren’t as lucky.
“We couldn’t claim our house anymore unless it was worth $500,000 or something like that and they took off some of my grandchildren. One of them is 17 and a student and they took her off,” said taxpayer Lulu Rodriguez.
“We got a little bit less than we expected but we made it work,” said taxpayer Crystal Strange.
If you haven’t filed yet, Benedetti recommends doing your research before visiting an accountant and using a tax organizer to make sure you have all the paperwork you need.
“We use a tax organizer as a tool to help people realize if they need to give us information they’re not providing,” he explained.
While you can file for an extension, you still have to pay what you owe to the IRS by the April 15 deadline.