2018 Tax Season – Same spooky PATH, same destination.

As 2017 creeps to the end, some people are coming into a scary reality – their cash flow is ghastly and the 2018 tax season is nearly three months away.

The candy tax you charge your kids on Halloween might yield Twix and Snickers.  But it doesn’t curb your craving for something better, a tax refund. Hold the bag, your 2018 tax refund is still subject to the PATH Act requirements…same as last year.

Stealing candy from your kids probably isn’t the best approach to teaching your kids about taxes and perhaps a lesson about saving candy to make it last longer is in order. Some of us might need to do the same with our tax refunds in 2018 to make them last longer or save for rough patches throughout the year. If you want to make Halloween a teachable moment with candy, check out some of the analogies parents use like this one from TaxAct when Halloween becomes a delicious financial lesson. My favorite part about Halloween is watching the Jimmy Kimmel antics when parents eat all the candy. If you haven’t seen these pranks, check out the hilarious videos of parents pretending to have eaten all the candy.

I digress…

My candy is all but gone by this time of the year and I see others already looking forward to tax season. Just after racking up the costs for the perfect Halloween costumes, the year begins to wind down and some people start counting dollars to get through the holiday season. Next thing we know, 2018 tax season will be here ending with the delicious treat of a tax refund for many.

So what does the 2018 tax season have in store for us?

For starters, the PATH Act will still apply. Don’t expect your tax refund before mid-February if you plan on claiming the EITC or ACTC tax credits. The days are over of tax refunds deposits hitting your account soon after January ends. Don’t let this be a scare tactic! You will make it work, just like every other year. Here are some tips to make it down the spooky 2018 tax season path….

1. Time to take a look at your income and check your withholdings.

Maybe you finally got around to that side hustle, you got a new job, a raise or got married. Think about all changes to your income and adjust your W-4 if you want to change the amount of taxes withheld moving forward.  Read more about determining the amount of tax withholding from the IRS and you can also use the IRS withholding calculator to help you make the decision.

2. Get your important documents together.

If you worked multiple jobs or changed jobs, make sure all your employers during 2017 have your correct address on file. You want those W-2s and 1099s sent to the right address.

Same thing goes if you went to college. If you plan to use school expenses for claiming the education credit, make sure you college has the correct mailing address. Some colleges offer electronic access to the form. But make sure you have opted-in to get electronic access or they still might go out in snail mail.

Hint: Use a copy of last year’s tax return to jog your memory of what you’ll need.

With some time still lurking until tax season, you don’t need to be in a huge rush, but getting prepared will make things easier when it gets here. Preparing now will get you ready to file early. And the earliest you will get your tax refund in 2018, the sooner you can pay down some debt, boost your saving or buy that “thing” you’ve been eyeing.

Although the IRS will not begin accepting tax returns in 2018 until mid-January, get in shape now for tax season! Should you get a tax refund loan? What types of things to you do at the end of the year to prepare for tax season? What are you planning to do with your tax refund? What are your thoughts? Comment below to get the 2018 tax season conversation started!

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