A recent survey of 1,000 moms by H&R Block revealed more than 40% of mothers feel overwhelmed during tax season. Last week, I interviewed Lynn Ebel, JD, LLM, Director at The Tax Institute at H&R Block to learn more about what causes moms to feel so overwhelmed by tax season, what families can do to be better prepared, and how H&R Block can help. Watch the complete video of our Q&A below, or read on to learn about how you can reduce overwhelm and be better prepared for tax season.
Mom Survey Reveals Tax Overwhelm
According to a new survey of 1,000 moms by H&R Block, 2 in 5 (42%) mothers feel overwhelmed during tax season. When it comes to the process of filing, 34% of moms have the greatest anxiety over potentially owing money on their tax return, followed by 24% worried about having all the necessary documents gathered. With this also being the first filing season the new tax law is in effect as well, I've gotten more questions on taxes from my follower than ever.
So last week, I was thrilled to interview Lynn Ebel, JD, LLM, Director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. She shared more insights into their survey results, as well as the solutions and options available to families from H&R Block to help you be more prepared for filing this year, and in the future! Watch the entirety of our interview about why moms feel overwhelmed by taxes here.
Why do moms feel overwhelmed by tax season?
Four out of 10 moms report feeling overwhelmed by tax season in H&R Block's latest survey. Whether it's panic from missing something and being contacted by the IRS, maximizing their deductions to keep as much of their income as they legally can, or just the entire process of filing and collecting all the information and documents your family needs to file.
H&R Block wants to make it as easy and stress-free for families as possible. You can get a customized checklist of all the tax documentation you need to file by completing their simple online questionnaire.
What trends and impact are you seeing as families have begun filing this year as a result of the new tax law?
This is the first year of tax reform, so your return this year is not directly comparable to last year. You need to make sure you are looking at the big picture. Whether you are getting a refund or not when you file is no indication of whether you paid more or less in taxes. A refund just means you over-withheld during the course of last year. Be sure to look at the bottom line of what you actually paid in taxes in total.
Related Post: 8 Things All Moms Need to Know About the New Tax Bill
There are many improvements in the new tax law for families - standard deduction for every filer has doubled, more people can claim the child tax credit and the child tax credit has doubled - but those are offset by new limitations in itemized deductions. But it is not a one size fits all piece of legislation, so the end result will vary depending on your personal situation. Those who are finding they are getting no refund or are owing money, are those who failed to prepare or educate themselves about tax reform.
Most people are going to come out ahead - but the withholding tables were updated at the end of February 2018. So if you didn't adjust your withholdings then, you might be surprised come filing time. If you don't like what happened when you filed this year, you can work with a W4 planner at H&R Block to be better prepared for next year.
What can families do to better prepare for taxes?
Bring in your prior years tax returns, to make sure you didn't miss any deductions in prior years. Use the H&R Block checklist to make sure you have all the documentation to file for this year. And take advantage of the W4 planner. Talk to them about what life changes you may have in the coming year and prepare for them. Life changes are tax changes: retirement, changes in income, children turning 17.
Family Finance Mom Tip: We keep a file in our filing cabinet all year long to collect relevant tax documents as they come in. We also keep our past returns and documentation there, with a folder for each year. We drop in everything from our property tax receipts to our W2s, donation forms, and more. It's all in one place, so there is not a mad scramble come tax time to find everything.
More than 150 million Americans file returns annually, and 96% of them need some time of help to do so. H&R Block offers a range of options and price transparency so you can decide the best kind of help for you.
About Lynn Ebel & The Tax Institute
Lynn Ebel, JD, LLM, is a director at The Tax Institute at H&R Block. The Tax Institute, H&R Block’s center of tax expertise, studies tax law changes so H&R Block can support its network of tax professionals, online tax preparation products and other tax prep services. Lynn specializes in real estate tax issues, including property transfers, passive activity losses, and bankruptcy issues.
To learn more about how tax reform may impact your family, be sure to check out 8 Things All Moms Need to Know about the New Tax Bill. You can find both of these and more by following my Pinterest board, Taxes for Families.