Tax preparer urges people to prepare for tax season, see how the new tax plan will affect you

Tax preparer urges people to prepare for tax season, see how the new tax plan will affect you

Two weeks until the 2018 tax season officially begins, there is still a lot of confusion about how the Trump administration’s tax plan will change things in 2019.

Marshall Mennenga, a tax and financial adviser at Mennenga Tax & Financial Service in Madison, said he is prepared to help his clients understand it all.

“Previously you would fill out a W-4 and it would all be based on your income and the number of exemptions that you claim on your tax return. Exemptions are gone. They’ve eliminated the value of the exemptions on the tax return starting in 2018,” said Mennenga.

He said employees will have to take a more active roll by calculating how much they will need to save this year. He recommends comparing your federal income taxes withheld on a pay stub from this month to one in February with the new withholdings.

“Calculate your projected total tax for the year, divide it by the number of pay periods you have to make sure you’re having enough withheld,” Mannenga said.

He said this tax season, security is a big worry.

Following the Equifax breach in 2017, where the personal information of more than 145 million Americans was stolen, picking your tax preparer this season is especially important.

The Better Business Bureau released the following tips for choosing a reliable tax preparer:

1. Check the preparer’s qualifications

2. Check the preparer’s history

3. Ask about service fees

4. Ask to e-file

5. Make sure the preparer is available

6. Provide records and receipts

7. Never sign a blank return

8. Review before signing

9. Ensure the preparer signs and includes their ID number 10. Report abusive tax preparers

Mennenga recommends taxpayers always meet their preparer face to face.

“Go to someone that’s reputable, that’s been in business for awhile and that you can trust. And someone that’s open year-round that you can go back to with problems,” he said.

He also warns of phone scammers who are calling to tell people they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service. He said the IRS will never call you. Do not send money to anyone who claims to be with the IRS who contacts you by phone.