PORTLAND, Maine — It’s Tax Day. Are you filing last minute? Well, dear Mainer, take a breath. You still have two more days to file. That’s thanks to Patriot’s Day, a state holiday in just a handful of places that commemorates the Revolutionary War.
If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you get until midnight on Wednesday, April 17 to file.
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Tax accountants across the country are expecting to file extensions for their clients, as people and businesses start to understand the nuances of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Here are some of the major things you need to know for this year:
- The standard deduction has been doubled. $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for couples. That deduction is the maximum amount of non-itemized deductions people can subtract from their income before income tax.
- Personal exemptions have been removed, and itemized deductions are capped at $10,000.
Cory Vargas with Wipfli in South Portland says if you're overwhelmed, stick with the basics.
"You’re always filing a return that is a snapshot of your income from the prior year. And so you’re saying to the IRS, 'Here’s all the money I made, here’s what was taken out of my paycheck,'" Vargo said.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has led to people seeing smaller refunds, or having to pay the IRS on tax they owe. That's because the law changed the way you record your taxable income.
"The way they addressed that is they got away with personal exemptions, so you’re not getting an exemption for yourself or your kids or your spouse. But they effectively doubled the standard deduction," Vargo said.
If you're not sure about what or how much you have to pay, Vargo suggests filing for an extension.
"It’s a small slip of paper and you just put your name on it, you say I'm not paying any tax right now. And you pop it in the mail by the close of tax day. As long as it’s postmarked on that day, you’ll be fine and you’ll get an extension," Vargo says.
Many predicted a slowdown on refunds from the IRS as a result of the government shutdown in December and January.
Vargo says that's turning out to not be the case.
"If you don’t have extraordinary circumstances, the shutdown by now is probably not that big of a deal. Refunds are being paid timely. If you file electronically, you’ll probably get your refund in a week or two," Vargo said.