Personal Finance

How to clear up any confusion about the new tax-law changes

Key Points
  • Many taxpayers are confused about how to apply tax rules and find tax-saving opportunities under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Financial advisor Barry Glassman of Glassman Wealth Services suggests clients use tax-planning software to assess any impact on 2018 returns.
  • Taxpayers aren't prepared for the scope of changes and really need to start planning now to be ready for April 15, says Tom Stringfellow of Frost Investment Advisors.
Preparing for taxes in 2019
Preparing for taxes in 2019

Numerous questions are whirling because of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Plenty of those queries involve misconceptions about applying the new tax rules and finding tax savings opportunities.

Certified financial planner Barry Glassman, founder and president of Glassman Wealth Services, and Tom Stringfellow, CFP and president of Frost Investment Advisors, offered their expertise on the confusion surrounding the tax issues.

"Most of our conversations [with clients] revolve around itemizing versus standard deductions," Glassman said. "Taxpayers understand that they have to pay taxes; what they don't want are surprises, and a lot of people are going to be really surprised that they're using the standard deduction and they're not going to get credit for their charitable deductions or any medical expenses."

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Glassman is urging his clients to take the necessary time to do some year-end tax planning to figure out if their itemized deductions will be enough to exceed what they get via a standard deduction.

He suggests using a tax software program to get a handle on the impact. "It will show you what this year's tax will look like, based on last year's information," Glassman said.

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Stringfellow believes there will be a great deal of confusion as taxpayers start to get closer to tax season.

For example, he said, "I don't think a lot of taxpayers actually realize that they're probably going to have to use the standard deduction this year."

There are definitely a variety of tax changes coming, so taxpayers really need to start planning now to be ready for April 15, Stringfellow said.

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