Now that the effects of last year's tax reform bill are being felt, the proposals to reform the reform keep rolling in. Last month, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) put forth a bill to reinstate unreimbursed job expenses. This week, Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN) introduced H. R. 5662, also known as the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act of 2018.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to equalize the charitable mileage rate with the business travel rate. For 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) optional standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck are 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven but a mere 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

For those of you who may have to fork over some additional funds to Uncle Sam, there are several options available for making payments.

If you can't pay your tax bill in full, a payment plan may be an option. Additional information about all payment and payment plan options can be found at www.irs.gov/payments and in Publication 5034, Need to Make a Payment? (English & Spanish).

The IRS also offers taxpayers the ability to pay using their mobile device through the IRS2Go app, available on the Apple or Google Play store.

You may electronically pay federal taxes, including the balance due on your current Form 1040 series return, estimated taxes, and other tax types using the following methods:

  • IRS Direct Pay
  • Debit Card or Credit Card Payments (via phone or online)
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS, For individuals and businesses)
  • E-file and Pay (best option when your client e-files)
  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) (e-file only)
  • Integrated File and Pay (Debit Card and Credit Card through tax software)

Many of you are wondering how the new tax rate changes will impact you. Obviously we can't answer that off the top of our heads as each person's situation is different, and in many cases experts are still trying to figure out how the changes will play out. One of the biggest changes is the corporate tax rate reduction to a maximum of 21% versus the maximum tax rate for individuals being around 37%.

The new tax legislation becomes effective January 1. That means many business owners are now considering whether to reorganize themselves as C corps.

Here's why: Most U.S. small businesses currently don't qualify for the reduced corporate tax rate. The majority of small enterprises are structured as pass-through entities such as limited liability companies or S corporations, where profits are taxed according to the owner's personal rate. While there is some tax relief in the bill for those pass-through firms—including a temporary ability to deduct up to 20 percent of income—many could access the permanent cut by converting to full-blown C corporations.

It may technically be an escape clause, but experts say it's one that startups are smart to take advantage of in 2018.

In an Information Release, IRS has announced that in many cases, taxpayers can continue to deduct interest paid on home equity loans under the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Taxpayers may deduct interest on mortgage debt that is "acquisition debt." Acquisition debt means debt that is: (1) secured by the taxpayer's principal home and/or a second home, and (2) incurred in acquiring, constructing, or substantially improving the home. This rule hasn't been changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Under pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, the maximum amount that was treated as acquisition debt for the purpose of deducting interest was $1 million ($500,000 for marrieds filing separately). Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the limit on acquisition debt is reduced to $750,000 ($375,000 for a married taxpayer filing separately).

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, there is no longer a deduction for interest on "home equity debt." The elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt applies regardless of when the home equity debt was incurred.

2018 Tax ChangesMost of you are aware that a new tax law was recently passed.  Most of the changes relate to 2018 and beyond - here are just a few of the ones most like to affect individuals.

Standard Deduction Increased

For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the standard deduction is increased to $24,000 for married individuals filing a joint return, $18,000 for head-of-household filers, and $12,000 for all other taxpayers, adjusted for inflation in tax years beginning after 2018. No changes are made to the current-law additional standard deduction for the elderly and blind. 

Personal Exemptions Suspended

For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the deduction for personal exemptions is effectively suspended by reducing the exemption amount to zero.