January 23, 2018
Yes, it is … tax time in Tinseltown! Has it really been a year? And what a year – don’t get me started.
Taxes for many of my clients are going to change a lot, but that’s next year’s taxes, 2018. I’m going to put information about those changes on my website, where you will also find the 2017 Worksheets that you will need to prepare your taxes. Miscellaneous deductions (business expenses for W-2 wage earners) will disappear after 2017. Agent’s commissions, photos, classes, etc. will no longer be deductible on an individual return, unless your income is not W-2 income. For actors and others in the entertainment industry this is a big blow. If your W-2 income is consistently high enough you might benefit from incorporating. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just creating a single member LLC will do. Unless you also file a Form 2553 electing to be taxed as a corporation, you’d just be spinning your wheels. It should be an S Corp or a C Corp, but more on that later.
Our crew at the office is the same, but things are changing some there too. I’m only doing 5 interviews a day this year, instead of the 7 I’ve done in the past. I’m tired of working that hard, and am trying to find new ways to accommodate your needs without total exhaustion. Last year we began encouraging you to get your documents and worksheets to us at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment. In some cases we finished the return and didn’t even need an appointment, and in others it shortened or eased the interview time needed.
This year we will continue this effort. WORKSHEETS ARE ESSENTIAL! I know many of you have your own method of tallying your expenses. That’s fine, but then we request that you spend a few minutes transferring the numbers to our worksheet. What’s the big difference? Our worksheets are in the same order as our input. You have no idea how much time that saves.
There is NO FEE INCREASE, BUT THERE WILL BE A $35 SURCHARGE FOR NOT FILLING OUT THE WORKSHEET. It rewards those who do use the worksheet, and reimburses us for the extra time needed for those who don’t. If you don’t mind the $35, we don’t mind the shoebox, baggie, or scrambled list. Please pay special attention to the Auto Expense section of the worksheet (list your odometer reading, business mileage, etc). Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to put a particular expense, just put it where you think it goes or at the bottom under questions.
I’m not taking new people during the tax season, but Suzi is back to doing interviews and will be preparing for new people and those I can’t fit in. Jennifer is a new Enrolled Agent – congratulations Jen – and will be working on mail-ins that I will review. Bill is still with us, we’re happy to say, as he has many devoted followers. And of course Alice and Debbie will be wo-manning the front desk.
Happy calculating! Pam