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Financial advisors say file taxes earlier than usual this year

New laws, government shutdown will affect refunds
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 13:16:00-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - Financial advisors say people will want to file with the IRS earlier than usual this year after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brought sweeping changes to the tax code.

Experts say about half the people they work with will see a bigger refund, while the rest may wind up owing more than they expect. The only way to know, and to plan, is to get your taxes done as soon as possible.

"People are concerned about what it's going to look like," says Brett Gottlieb with Comprehensive Advisor. "We’re doing some preliminary stuff with people this past year giving them an idea, and it was almost 50/50."

Gottlieb says the most significant change that people will see comes with deductions. The new law did away with personal and dependent exemptions, money taken off the top of earnings for every person listed on a tax filing.

In its place, the standard deductions have doubled. The standard deduction for individuals has gone from $6,000 to $12,000. The deduction for married people filing jointly went from $12,000 to $24,000.

Because of that, Gottlieb says most of his clients aren't itemizing their deductions this year.

Other major changes to the tax laws include new tax brackets and lower tax rates.

Gottlieb says filing early helps in four ways:

1. It gives you more time to plan

2. If you get a refund, you get the money sooner

3. If you owe more than expected, you have time to save or adjust your budget accordingly

4. It helps to avoid tax scammers and people trying to steal your identity.

Experts say, this year if you plan to file on your own, starting sooner will help avoid mistakes.

"Make sure you don’t transpose a number or spell something wrong," says Gottlieb. "All that does is lead to errors and potentially prolong getting a refund if you’re getting one."