Tax Surprises

person using calculator to pay taxes

No one thinks writing a check to the IRS is fun.

If you have been following the news lately, you have probably heard about people who have already filed their tax returns and got a big surprise – a smaller refund, no refund or ended up owing the IRS. No one thinks writing a check to the IRS is a fun time. With April 15th being the day most Americans’ tax returns are due, so is your payment if you owe. No one wants that kind of surprise. So if you want to avoid that next year, here are a few things suggestions.

Planning is more effective if done sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until the end of the year to make your plan and expect to have the plan be efficient. Grab the previous year’s tax return to get started. Take a good long look at your withholding. With the new tax law, some people didn’t have enough tax withheld and that ended up in smaller refunds or having to pay taxes. Look to see if you qualify for any missed tax breaks. If you have capital assets like stocks, watch out for the short-term capital gains tax. If they are growing in value, hold on to your stocks until they qualify for long-term capital gains tax, which tends to be lower.

woman using calendar to schedule tax planning
Planning is more effective if done sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until the end of the year.

Part of your plan could be quarterly check-ups. Even if you work for someone else and you have a regular paycheck, there might be some variables that will affect your tax return. Think of it as a road trip where you check the direction you are heading from time to time. (At least with the road trip,you can turn around if you get lost!)

An IRA could be a good first step.

If you can, look at lowering your tax bill by making deductible retirement contributions. There are several different kinds of retirement plans that we won’t get into here, but an IRA could be a good first step for you. The key thing about and IRA is this: You can pay yourself or you can pay Uncle Sam.


The tax laws have changed. Some deductions we took for granted may no longer apply. You need to stay informed and organized when it comes to tax preparation and planning. If you are confused, anxious, or overwhelmed, call an expert like TYS LLP. They understand the new tax laws and they can help guide you through all the changes.

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