Creighton University accounting professor Tom Purcell says one big change relates to home equity debt. Purcell says if you have a home equity line of credit, for example, you can’t write off the interest anymore.
“The home equity debt rule has changed and you can no longer get the deduction for home equity,” Purcell says, which reduces the tax incentive for home ownership.
Other changes include raising the standard deduction and the amount of child tax credits, the suspension of personal exemptions, and changes to withholding amounts on employee pay.
On the plus side, Purcell says some new taxpayers in Nebraska will find they don’t need a CPA to complete their simplified returns.
“Some entry-level people might just realize they can do this for themselves, it’s not that hard,” Purcell says. “You get a W-2, that’s all you’ve got, you’re not going to claim itemized deductions, you don’t have to worry about dependency exemptions and personal exemptions, you can be done in 20 minutes.”
He says entry-level taxpayers, and those who itemized in the past who will now claim the standard deduction in 2018, should self-prepare using an electronic filing service which can be free through the IRS.
Many other Nebraskans may be in for a surprise if, due to changes in federal withholding, they haven’t withheld enough.
“It’s very possible that some people will be under-withheld, which means when they file their tax return, they might have to write a check to the IRS,” he says.
A federal report estimates 30-million Americans aren’t withholding enough money from their paychecks and will owe the IRS money when they file for 2018 this year.
For Nebraskans who find they aren’t withholding enough, Purcell recommends they revise their W-4 forms with their employers.