tax tips

2018 Tax Tips

We’re Halfway Through 2018, Have You Adjusted Your Paycheck Withholding?

by Norman Short, Partner, GSJones Law Group, P.S.

For the majority of us who earn a paycheck, last year’s tax bill made significant changes. If you didn’t take the time to make necessary adjustments in February, now is a great time to adjust your withholding to conform to the 2018 tax regulations.

As you know, it’s best to apply the Goldilocks Principle to your withholding. If the government keeps too much of your money, you can’t invest that extra money throughout the year. On the other hand, not giving the government its due throughout the year could result in a nasty penalty. So, it’s best to withhold the amount from your check that is “just right.”

However, what is just right? To determine the answer ask your employer for both a copy of your old W-4 and a blank copy. Add the same information for your spouse. Then use the calculator created by IRS to determine the amount of over- or underpayment. Once you know that information, fill out a new W-4 with information that will result in a “just right” result at the end of 2018.

There were many changes to the tax code that affect people whose financial situations are more complicated. I’m always happy to do a 30-minute look at your tax situation for just $50. Call for an appointment to see if I can save you some trouble or some money. 360-876-9221.

Norman Short has 25 years experience helping individuals and businesses with your tax planning, pass-through income, back tax representation and other tax issues.

IRS tax

Time for Paycheck Checkup: IRS Calculator

by Norman Short, Tax and Business Law Attorney

IRS Withholding Calculator

You can now check your IRS paycheck deduction, using the new IRS Withholding Calculator. The new tax law has several major changes and it has been implemented on an expedited schedule. It is possible that the IRS guidelines your employer uses to calculate your withholding don’t address how the new law applies to your individual situation.

So take a few minutes to do this paycheck checkup. It could save you the shock of a big tax bill next year. Or it could guide you to lower your withholding and have more money in the bank now.

Best IRS planning for business owners and complicated tax situations

Small business owners and those with complicated tax situations: I help people like you with tax and business decisions and representation regularly since 1995. If the new tax laws affect you, I’m happy to work with you to develop the best tax plan.

IRS says: Beware phone scam

New IRS phone scam threatens immediate arrest

IRS phone scam

art by Anecdoteak

by Norman Short, Partner
A new and vicious phone scam has reached the Puget Sound area in which the caller poses as an IRS (Internal Revenue Service) agent and dramatically threatens immediate arrest. I’ve received a report of a phone call made to one of our clients. The phony agent used a dramatic, threatening voice. He said that she owed back taxes and fees. If she didn’t pay that day with a prepaid card, she would be arrested at once. The threatening voice then recited her address and gave her a number to call to pay.

Needless to say, she was terrified. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to check it out with the IRS.

IRS agents will not contact you by phone

There are very rare exceptions to this rule. If you do get a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, tell them you will call the IRS. Then, ask for identification, including badge number. No legitimate agent will object to your checking out his or her validity. Call the IRS verification number: 800-366-4484. These scams come and go and cost their victims millions financially, as well as emotional pain. The IRS just issued a warning a few days ago. So, be prepared and prepare others in your household to respond calmly to this vicious phone scam.

In fact, the IRS states:

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

You may want to check out the IRS resource page on scams for more information. If you have been a victim of one of these scams, use this U. S. Treasury report form.

Norman Short, a Partner at GSJones Law Group, focuses on financial law. He earned an advanced law degree (LL.M) in tax law in 1992 and was admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court in 1995. He helps people with tax issues, business formation, and estate planning law.