It’s Tax Time Again! – Some Tips to Prepare

Rex Jiang |

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”   Albert Einstein

It is that wonderful time of year when our mail and now email boxes are being filled with notices of “IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENTS”.  As much as tax time is dreaded, the earlier you start gathering your documents and preparing your taxes the better off you will be.  Below are some tips to help you get organized and prepared for tax season.

As you are likely aware, the most recent tax reform bill was signed into law on December 22, 2017.  Please remember that although the tax reform bill takes effect January 1, 2018, you will not see the tax preparation impact until you file next year’s taxes (taxes for 2018, which will be due April 2019).  The taxes we are about to start filing are for tax year 2017 which was not impacted by these tax reform changes.  Please see my recent blog post on the Summary of New Tax Bill and Key Changes  for a summary of what is in store for tax year 2018.  For tax year 2017 we remain mostly status quo.

Tax Forms

  • You should have received most of your tax documents by now, starting in late January.
  • Depending on your delivery preferences some forms might be available online vs. physically mailed to your address of record.  Most financial institutions now have a tax forms section available from their website.  Once securely logged on you can print your own tax forms.
  • Keep all tax documents together.
  • Look out for corrected forms, the IRS requires all companies to issue corrected forms after an issuer provides updated information.
  • Below is a list of the most comment documents and their purpose. You will only receive documents that apply to your situation.  You may receive a single consolidated 1099.

Tax Document



Wage and Tax Statement

1099 DIV

Dividends and Distributions

1099 INT

Interest Income

1099 MISC

Miscellaneous Income

1099 B

Capital Gain/Loss

1099 R

Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

Schedule K-1

Partnership securities delivered by the issuer of the security

Form 1098

Mortgage Interest Statement

Form 1098-T

Reports amounts billed to you for qualified tuition and related expenses.

Donation Receipts

Might be received at time of donation or receive a year-end giving summary.


Review Last Fiscal Year

  • Highlight major changes in the past year – i.e. birth of a child, purchase of home, new job, marriage, etc.?  All of these changes and more trigger tax consequences.

Make sure you are using all deductions and tax credits applicable.

  • Some credits you not be aware of include; contributions to 529 deductible at state level, Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions, education tax credits.  Some of these are subject to income levels so they may/may not apply to your situation.  Check out to see the specifics.

Be sure to make your 2017 IRA and HSAs contributions as applicable, the deadline for individual contributions is 4/17/2018.

Plan Name

Standard Limit

Catch-up Limit

Traditional IRA


$6,500  (Age 50+)

Roth IRA


$6,500  (Age 50+)

HSA - Individual


$4,400  (Age 55+)

HSA - Family


$7,750  (Age 55+)

*Note:  For 2018 the IRA limits will remain the same, however, HSA limits are increasing $3,450 individuals/$6,900 for family.  Also, 401K contribution limits are up from $18,000 to $18,500.  The catch-up limits remain the same. 


Another thing to note, under the new tax law, for tax years 2017 and 2018 taxpayers no longer have to have medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The threshold in these two years returns to the prior the 7.5 percent level. In 2019, the 10 percent of AGI rule returns for those under age 65

When in doubt consult a tax professional.  The tax laws can be complex and very confusing.  It is better to get correct information up front rather than make bad assumptions that could impact you for years to come.  Pebble Valley Wealth Management is also here to help with financial guidance, especially analyzing future tax strategies.  Reach out to see how we can help.

File your taxes on time or get an extension.

  • The regular tax return filing deadline is April 15th. However, due to April 15th being on a Sunday in 2018 and the Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday being observed on Monday, April 16, taxes are due Tuesday, April 17th this year.
  • If you do not have enough information to file your taxes by April 17th you may complete Form 4868 to get a 6 month extension.  However, it is important to note, a tax extension only postpones your time to file a return not your time to pay your taxes!

Don’t let April 17th loom over your head; go forth and get organized! 

Posted on 2/8/2018 by Kirk, a fee-only financial advisor who looks at your complete financial picture through the lens of a multi-disciplined, credentialed professional.