Getting ready for 2018 tax season

Internal Revenue Service

Now that the tax return extension filing deadline has passed, the Internal Revenue Service is advising taxpayers to start getting ready for the 2018 tax season.

Taxpayers still have time to take these three steps that could impact their 2017 tax returns:

l Make a charitable contribution.

Taxpayers may deduct contributions they make to charitable organizations only in the year the donation is made. There is still time for taxpayers to make these contributions before the end of 2017. After several storms this year, many taxpayers are making donations to disaster relief organizations. Taxpayers may use the IRS Exempt Organization Select Check tool on to make sure that these charities and any other tax-exempt organization are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

l Consider IRA distributions.

Taxpayers over the age of 70 should receive payments from their individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans by the end of 2017. A special rule allows those who reached the required age in 2017 to wait until April 1 to receive their distributions.

l Note IRA Contributions.

Taxpayers generally must make workplace retirement account contributions by the end of the year. However, they can make 2017 IRA contributions until April 17.

Also, consider taking several steps now to make the process easier later:

l Report name changes.

Recently married or divorced taxpayers who change their names should notify the Social Security Administration. They should also notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed. The taxpayer needs to do this so the new name on the tax return matches.

A mismatch between the name shown on a tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of a tax return and could even delay the refund.

l Renew Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. Taxpayers who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number should check to see if their number expired in 2016 or will expire this year. If so, and they need to file a return in 2018, they should apply now to renew their ITIN to avoid certain disallowed tax credits and processing delays next year. Taxpayers who have not used their ITIN to file a federal return at least once in the last three years will see their number expire Dec. 31, 2017. Additionally, ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 will also expire at the end of the year. Only taxpayers with expiring ITINs need to take any action. To renew an ITIN, a taxpayer must complete a Form W-7 and submit required documentation. No tax return is required when submitting an application to renew.