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It’s tax season and thanks to new legislation, your taxes may look a little different this year than they did last year.

Major tax reform, commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was enacted in December 2017. This tax reform affects both individuals and businesses.

Recent changes include:

  • reduced tax rates for most people
  • elimination of personal exemptions
  • increased standard deductions ($12,000 for single persons, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly)
  • increased tax credit for children and dependents ($2,000 per qualifying child and a new $500 credit for qualifying dependents)
  • changes to itemized deductions

With all these changes, it’s a good time to take a look at your paycheck and see if you’re withholding the right amount of tax. Withholding too little each paycheck can result in an unexpected bill at tax time. And if you’re withholding too much, you can make adjustments to receive more in your paycheck each pay period. If you do this,expect a smaller refund each April.

Use the IRS Calculator to calculate how much you should be withholding. Keep in mind that any changes you make to your withholdings at this point will affect your 2019 returns (filed in 2020), and not the taxes you are currently working on filing for 2018.

Once you’re ready to file your taxes, the IRS recommends using tax software and e-file or seeking the help of a tax professional to complete and e-file your tax return.

Some additional tax tips:

  • Contribute to your IRA. You have until April 15, 2019, to make your contribution for the 2018 tax year. Talk with your tax advisor about your options and what’s right for you.
  • Save all of your December financial statements. You can use them to report your year-to-date interest and dividends. You will also receive a Form 1099-INT (interest form) if you earned $10 or more in dividends or a Form 1098 (mortgage interest) if you paid more than $600 in loan interest on your home loan.
  • Plan ahead for tax payments. If you think you’ll owe money on your tax return, stop by the credit union. You could qualify for a Signature Loan.