Tax preparers in Douglas County are still busy today as the 2017 tax season comes to a close.
Today is Tax Day, the last day to file taxes or to file an extension.
Arlee Woodhull of Woodhull Tax Service in Sutherlin, said it’s been a busy time for her and her colleague Connie Dotson, who runs North County Tax & Bookkeeping Service in the same building.
“She and I have certainly done quite well so we’re happy,” Woodhull said.
She said those wishing to file electronically have until midnight to do so, but those wanting to mail in a return must have it postmarked today, before the post offices close.
Carrie Harmon, agent and tax consultant for H&R Block in Roseburg, said this tax season has been busier than most.
“We have had an influx of people moving into our area so we’re super swamped this year,” Harmon said. She said many clients were concerned about the recent changes made to the tax code, but said most of those changes will be reflected in the 2018 tax season instead.
But for both the 2017 and 2018 season, taxpayers can deduct medical expenses that are more than 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income, as opposed to the 2019 season, which will increase that threshold to 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.
The 2018 tax year will see many changes in the tax code, and Harmon said many people will benefit from the new tax law.
“For next year most people are going to see a tax decrease, because generally most are seeing about a 3 percent decrease, and their standard deduction will be doubling so they will see more of a refund,” Harmon said. “But that doesn’t account for everybody because there are a handful of people for whom certain things are going away.”
But Woodhull said the new rules could leave taxpayers with a negative surprise next year.
“The 2018 law has many ups and downs,” Woodhull said. “Lots of people think it’s going to really help them, and a lot are going to be disappointed.”
She said a number of itemized deductions are going away, including work-related expenses. As employees, taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct the cost of steel-toed boots they bought to work in a factory, rain gear they bought specifically to work outside, or their employee union dues.
Woodhull said the doubling of the standard deduction as written in the new tax law is not going to be as helpful as some may think because personal exemptions will be cut.
“If you have a married couple with three kids, that’s five times $4,200 that is gone,” Woodhull said. “That deduction is gone, which is just about what your standard deduction is going to be.”
Woodhull said the tax law changes are massive, and she will be consulting with all her clients about how the 2018 changes are going to affect their returns.
“It’s not going to be business as usual,” Woodhull said. “If they’ve been doing their own returns for years and feel comfortable with it, they better do some research now because it’s not going to be the same as it has been.”
Woodhull said these changes are not set in stone, as Congress has until midnight Dec. 31 to add changes.
With the recent tax overhaul signed into law, tax professionals in Douglas County recommend …
For now, the tax preparers are busy helping people finish filing 2017 tax returns.
Harmon said today is also the last day to make amendments to 2014 tax documents, and that taxpayers should be aware of tax credits they may qualify for, such as Energy Credits for federal returns.
Woodhull Tax Service, which files electronically, will be filing extensions until midnight today. Extensions are for filing tax returns later, but those with extensions are still expected to pay their taxes when they’re due.
“We’re going crazy, every tax preparer in the national is going crazy,” Woodhull said. “That’s a normal state of affairs on the last two days.”