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Tax time approaching with changes for filers

December 31, 2018 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — People filing their 2018 federal income tax returns will notice some changes in the process compared with previous years.

“Personal deductions are going to be doubled and some other deductions have been eliminated,” said Mike Matthews, technical coordinator, Tax-Aide Program, AARP Foundation District 2. The area includes Bullhead City, Laughlin and Lake Havasu City.

The personal deduction of $6,000 for 2017 rises to $12,000 for 2018, and will bring taxpayers an advantage of somewhere between $600-$1,000 this year, on average.

Neither the deduction nor the advantage are the refund amount.

“It only affects the overall total and lowers the taxable amount,” Matthews said.

But the hundreds of people in Bullhead City and the surrounding area with low and moderate incomes who file income taxes with the help of Tax-Aide volunteers are more likely to pay less than in 2017 — if their financial situations were pretty much the same as last year or more favorable tax-wise.

People don’t need to be AARP members or even be seniors to obtain the free Tax Aide service. Completed returns can be sent electronically on-site to the IRS or be given back to the filer to send in at their convenience.

Matthews’ wife, Marilyn, has been the district coordinator since the early 1990s. There will be a new local coordinator, Charles Becker, who will succeed long-time local coordinator Albert Hoss, who did it for more than 20 years.

All of the Tax-Aide volunteers are IRS-certified.

Laughlin services will be available at the Suddenlink Community Center on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays on a first-come, first-served basis from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning Feb. 4.

The last Tax-Aide service day will be April 15.

When you visit Tax-Aide volunteers to sort out your return:

Bring verification of Social Security number — of the filer and all of their dependents.Have all documents that show income during 2018 — 1099s, W-2s.Include a form of photograph identification.Bring a copy of last year’s tax return (if applicable).Don’t forget your 1095 A, B or C form to show proof of health insurance. (This Affordable Care Act-related tax requirement remains in effect for 2018).Remember to bring bank account numbers for bank deposit if there’s a refund. People who have to pay can use their credit card but also can take an envelope with them to send off the payment with their return later.

Arizonans also are required to file state tax returns. State officials still haven’t decided how to handle all forms of adjusted gross income earned during 2018. What they decide could affect state taxpayers — especially those who file in January. These filers might have to amend their state returns once this matter is decided.

Tax-Aide doesn’t begin its work until February.

The state is again expected to offer a tax credit for donations to schools and nonprofit organizations. The result would be a reduction in the tax owed. There are additional rules, such as that such donations must be made before the person or couple files state taxes.

A trained tax preparer can better explain these rules to you.

Tax areas not handled by local Tax-Aide volunteers include rental properties; business returns with inventory; military pay; married filing separately, because there are certain areas for which they don’t receive training.

For details, call Matthews at 928-768-5976.