TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A Twin Falls Certified Public Accountant said it's best to get ahead of taxes now, especially with the new tax laws in effect.
"The new basis for calculating our income taxes are probably going to go down for most people, but depending on your particular situations, your withholdings may not match up with your old tax liability," said Doug Lincoln, a CPA with Tilley and Lincoln PLLC Business and Tax Consultants.
Lincoln said it's easier to fix taxes now, rather than three weeks before April. He said there are a few changes that taxpayers should know about.
"On an individual level, itemized deductions have changed and the standard deduction has increased," Lincoln said. "We're going to see a lot more people use the standard deduction than we have had in the past, making the itemized irrelevant. But for some people, the itemized deductions are going to matter."
He said there is a limitation on state and local income taxes that can be deducted.
The other change is that personal exemptions have gone away, he said.
"In other words, the deduction for your child who may be dependent on your parent has gone away, to be replaced with increased child tax credit," he said.
Lincoln thinks most people will see a bit of a decrease in their overall taxes.
"The problem is making sure that their withholdings match up," he said.
He said a good tool to use now is going to the Idaho State Tax Commission website.
There is a button on there that allows people to update their W-4 withholdings now.
"You'll be able to follow through to check both your federal and your state withholdings," he said.
Lincoln advises those who are doing their own taxes to start as early as they can when they get their information.
"Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Things are going to look different, they feel different of what you’ve done in the past. Give yourself time to get it done," he advised.
He also urges people to be aware when they're using tools that do calculations.
"IRS.gov or Idaho tax.gov are fine, but if you get into a site and you find them asking for your name or social security number, your birthday, flee the scene," he said. "The IRS website does not do that. The Idaho website does not do that. You may have found your way into a site that's trying to steal your identity."
Lincoln also advises keeping documentation together for at least four years before throwing it away.
"You may need it. Good records, give yourself time and ask for help if needed," he said.