LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — You can expect to see a smaller tax return this year. Major changes to the tax code are translating to less money back in your pocket. Experts say there's not much you can do about it. 13 Consumer Advocate Tricia Kean has a look at what you need to know.
"You just gotta do it. It's got to get done. Whether you like it or not," says taxpayer Javier Serrano.
He knows, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. So he doesn't take any chances.
"It's always good to get that second opinion and rely on that professional advice," says Javier.
For that, he turns to CPA, Kelly Tate.
Kelly says this year's new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes a lot: It eliminates personal and dependent exemptions, and places limits on itemized deductions. So there's not many options for getting as much as possible back from Uncle Sam.
"For most taxpayers there's not a whole lot they can do. It is what it is. The withholdings have already happened... They should not expect big refunds and some people may even owe money," says Kelly.
But there is some good news for families. The child tax credit is double what it used to be. It's now $2,000 per child under the age of 17.
"Not only that, it used to have a threshold for married filing/joint of $120,000 and you would phase out of that credit. Now that threshold is more than double that," says Kelly.
That helps. But all these changes may lead to a complicated filing season. Even the federal income tax form 1040 is new. It's now condensed to half a page, with some parts moved to other forms.
"But the difference now is to get to that half a page, they've added I think seven schedules behind it. So, I don't think it made it any less complicated for anybody," says Kelly.
The bottom line, allow yourself more time to get things filled out this year. If you are thinking of hiring some help this year: Be sure that person has what's called a PTIN or preparer tax identification number. They'll also have set fees. Beware of anyone who tries to base their fee, on a percentage of your refund.
Javier says you can't be too careful.
"I make sure I ask the right questions. You as a responsible taxpayer or wage earner, you have to do your due diligence," says Javier.
The tax deadline this year is Monday, April 15.