Decoding the 2018 Tax Form Makeover

Date December 21, 2018
Authors HBK CPAs & Consultants

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in a complete makeover of the forms used to prepare individual income tax returns. Apparently “filing on a post card” is possible; for some, the new Individual Income Tax Return will indeed be as simple and straightforward as filling out a two-sided post card-sized form. For many others, however, the new form will be accompanied by one or more of six new schedules.

The first page of the new form is informational. It lists the taxpayer’s filing status, name, address, social security number and dependents. It also includes a signature area for the taxpayers and the tax preparer.

The second page of the new form contains the information used to compute the tax due for the year; it has been significantly simplified from prior year forms. If additional information needs to be reported, the TCJA has provided the following schedules to be used:

  • Schedule 1 should be included in any tax return where the taxpayer receives income from capital gains (reported on Schedule D), ordinary gains (reported on Form 4797), business income (reported on Schedule C), rental and pass through income (reported on Schedule E), or any other type of income typically referred to as “Other Income.” This form will also report any adjustments to income, such as the deductible part of self-employment tax (reported on Schedule SE), the self-employed health insurance deduction, the deduction for contributions to an IRA and the student loan interest deduction.
  • Schedule 2 will be included in any tax return where the taxpayer is subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (reported on Form 6251) or needs to make an excess advance premium tax credit repayment.
  • Schedule 3 will be used to claim nonrefundable credits such as the foreign tax credit (reported on Form 1116), any residential energy credits, general business credits or child and dependent care expenses.
  • Schedule 4 will be used to compute other taxes such as self-employment taxes (reported on Form SE), additional taxes on IRAs, net investment income taxes (reported on Form 8960), household employment taxes (reported on Schedule H) and any Section 965 taxes due.
  • Schedule 5 will be used to report any estimated tax payments as well as any payments made with an extension. This schedule will also be used to claim any refundable credits that the taxpayer is entitled to other than the earned income credit, such as the American opportunity credit or the additional child tax credit.
  • Schedule 6 should be included for any taxpayers who have a foreign address or wish to designate a third- party designee to discuss their return with the IRS.

In addition to these new schedules, taxpayers should be prepared to fill out many of the standard, familiar forms and schedules when completing 2018 returns.

Taxes can be complex, and it is important to understand how these changes might affect filings. The examples included in this article are not all-inclusive and not intended as a substitute for the value and knowledge of consulting with a tax specialist. Please contact a member of the HBK Tax Advisory Group with your questions and concerns. We’re here to help.

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