Videos help taxpayers learn more about #tax #reform

The IRS has several videos that can help individual and business taxpayers learn more about the tax reform legislation. The IRS posts these videos on the IRS Video Portal and to their YouTube channel. Aside from these sites, the IRS offers tax reform information on its other social media channels, such as Twitter and their new Instagram account. Taxpayers can visit the Multimedia Center on for links to all the agency’s social media sites.

Here are some of the tax reform videos taxpayers can watch on their computer or on their smartphone when they’re on the go.

IRS Video Portal
The IRS produces and posts videos to post on the Video Portal. These videos can help individual and business taxpayers better understand how the tax reform law affects them and their taxes.

IRS YouTube Channel
These videos are all in English, with several also being offered in Spanish and American Sign Language.

  • Paycheck CheckupEnglish | Spanish | ASL 
    Taxpayers can watch this video to find out why they should do a Paycheck Checkup after tax reform legislation changed how much tax is taken out of individuals’ paychecks.

  • IRS Withholding Calculator TipsEnglish | Spanish | ASL
    This video gives taxpayers tips for using the calculator, including what documents to have on hand before starting their Paycheck Checkup.

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave:  English
    If employers provide paid family and medical leave for their employees, they may be eligible for a tax credit. This video has more information about this credit.

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IRS provides a safe harbor method of accounting for passenger automobiles that qualify for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation

WASHINGTON –The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today that provides a safe harbor method for determining depreciation deductions for passenger automobiles that qualify for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction and that are subject to the depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles. 

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the additional first year depreciation deduction applies to qualified property, including passenger automobiles, acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2027. 

In general, the section 179 and depreciation deductions for passenger automobiles are subject to dollar limitations for the year the taxpayer places the passenger automobile in service and for each succeeding year.  For a passenger automobile that qualifies for the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction, TCJA increased the first-year limitation amount by $8,000.  If the depreciable basis of a passenger automobile for which the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction is allowable exceeds the first-year limitation, the excess amount is deductible in the first taxable year after the end of the recovery period.

The guidance provides a safe harbor method of accounting for passenger automobiles. The safe harbor allows depreciation deductions for the excess amount during the recovery period subject to the depreciation limitations applicable to passenger automobiles.  To apply the safe-harbor method, the taxpayer must use the applicable depreciation table in Appendix A of IRS Publication 946.  The safe harbor method does not apply to a passenger automobile placed in service by the taxpayer after 2022, or to a passenger automobile for which the taxpayer elected out of the 100-percent additional first year depreciation deduction or elected under section 179 to expense all or a portion of the cost of the passenger automobile. 

Taxpayers adopt the safe harbor method of accounting by applying it to deduct depreciation of a passenger automobile on their return for the first taxable year following the placed-in-service year.

For more information on the additional first year depreciation deduction, see TCJA, Depreciation. For information about other TCJA provisions, visit

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What changed about deducting unreimbursed job expenses?

Tax reform eliminated the option to claim “miscellaneous expenses subject to the 2 percent adjusted gross income (AGI) floor” as itemized deductions.  Unreimbursed job expenses were previously part of that miscellaneous expense category. That means as a traditional employee, you can no longer deduct those costs on your tax return. And that includes the cost of:

  • meals and entertainment
  • travel
  • office supplies
  • books
  • vehicles (actual expenses or the standard mileage rate)

Don’t fret if you’re self-employed or a small business owner! You can still deduct those costs as business expenses. That includes sole proprietorships, farms, and real estate rentals. The new law only eliminated the deduction for work-related expenses for traditional employees.

How do changes to the standard deduction affect itemized deductions?

As you may have heard, the standard deduction for 2018 doubled – or nearly doubled – for taxpayers in all filing statuses. Most people will find it’s not beneficial to itemize their deductions because the new, larger standard deduction provides more benefits.

If you’re not itemizing deductions, it no longer matters whether you can deduct unreimbursed job expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions.

What should I do if my unreimbursed job expenses are substantial?

If you have a lot of unreimbursed job expenses, the first thing you may want to do is see if your employer will cover the cost. Your employer can still deduct all qualified employee expense reimbursements. That why now is a great time to bring the subject up to your employer so you know what to expect come tax season.

If your employer decides to reimburse your expenses, make sure they use an “accountable plan” that meets all IRS requirements. Using an accountable plan allows your employer to deduct reimbursed expenses and not include the reimbursed amount with your wages on Form W-2. If your employer does not use an accountable plan, any reimbursements must be included on your Form W-2 as taxable income.

Another option is to see if you qualify to work as an independent contractor. If you often have a large number of unreimbursed job expenses, and you meet other independent contractor guidelines set by the IRS, it might be more beneficial to be classified that way. Just be sure you are paid a higher gross amount as a contractor than you were as an employee. That’ll help make up for the lost employer-paid Social Security, Medicare and other benefits lost. “from Tax Act Blog.”

Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check the status of their refund

The best way for taxpayers to check the status of their refund is to use the Where’s My Refund? tool on This tool gives taxpayers access to their tax return and refund status anytime. All they need is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Their Social Security number
  • Their filing status
  • The exact whole dollar amount of their refund

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund.

Where’s My Refund? Updates once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.

Taxpayers on the go can track their return and refund status on their mobile devices using the free IRS2Go app. Those who file an amended return should check out the Where’s My Amended Return? tool. 

Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of refunds only if it’s been 21 days or more since a taxpayer filed electronically, or more than six weeks since they mailed a paper return. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS if Where’s My Refund? directs them to do so.

More information:
Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications
Tax Topic 254 – How to Choose a Tax Return Preparer
Choosing a Tax Professional
Filing for Individuals
e-File Options for Individuals
Paying Your Taxes
What to Expect for Refunds in 2019
Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families
Multimedia Center: IRS on Social Media

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