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Filing Your Taxes Via Postcard: Is That in the Near Future?


Posted in on October 31, 2018

Tax law issues have become more complicated for many in recent years, thanks to new requirements for individuals with offshore investment accounts and thanks to tax reform that occurred with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

One of the big changes that is forthcoming in 2018 is that the IRS has promised taxpayers will have a simplified process for filing tax returns. In fact, the IRS has indicated that taxpayers will be able to file their taxes on a postcard sized 1040 form instead of using the much longer 1040 forms that had been utilized in the past.

However, while the draft 1040 does indeed appear to be shorter and simpler at first glance, the reality is that the vast majority of taxpayers are not just going to be able to submit the postcard sized form and not have to also include other paperwork when they send in their tax returns.

Can You Really File Taxes on a Postcard?

The draft 1040 appears to be shorter and simpler because it asks only for some basic demographic information about your family, your filing status, whether you have dependents, the income you are earning, and whether you are taking the standard deduction or itemized deduction.

However, the draft 1040 form makes clear that taxpayers do have to submit some additional paperwork with the postcard size form, particularly if they are claiming deductions or credits or need to provide proof of certain types of income.  The fact that submitting additional forms is required means that filing taxes may not be as simple as the IRS form tries to make it appear.

It is true that for some taxpayers, it will indeed be simpler to submit their tax forms than in the past because they will be able to submit this draft form and perhaps a few additional pages of documentation just showing they're eligible for a child tax credit. 

One reason why life may be simpler for many taxpayers is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the standard tax deduction, so fewer people are likely to itemize on their tax returns. That in and of itself makes filing taxes much simpler.

However, taxpayers with more complex situations, including those who need to itemize or who have offshore accounts, will continue to be subject to much more extensive paperwork requirements than just sending in a postcard sized form.

The bottom line is, despite the clear efforts made by the IRS to provide a simplified tax filing process for many taxpayers, complexities in the tax code remain. A Maryland tax attorney can provide you with help understanding the tax rules applicable to you and ensuring that you are in full compliance with IRS rules and regulations so you do not face legal consequences associated with unpaid taxes. Contact attorney Kevin Thorn for help today. We are available online or via phone by calling (240) 235-5096.

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