TAS Tax Tip: Families - Gear-up now for changes that will affect your 2018 return

December 11, 2018

It’s the holidays and is anyone really thinking about taxes? We hope you are, because there are certain things you will need to know now, and some you may need to act upon before the end of the calendar year.

For individuals, The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s Tax Reform Changes website, in both English and Spanish, has information for you about what is changing and what is not for the 2018 tax year in an easy to understand format by topic and line-by-line using the 2017 Form 1040.

But before you go to this website, we would like to highlight some changes regarding credits and deductions for those who have children or other dependents.

New and Changing Family Related Credits and Deductions

Here’s the short list of items related to families:

  • Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • Credit for Other Dependents (new)
  • Personal Exemptions
  • Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit

Items that Require Action Now

For the new $500 Credit for Other Dependents, a qualifying dependent must be listed with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) or non-work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN). If the qualifying dependent requires an ITIN, but has one that will expire before Dec. 31, 2018, or does not have one assigned yet, you will need to file a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number now to ensure it is available for when you file in 2019. Sometimes an ITIN application can take up to seven weeks for the IRS to process (9 to 11 weeks if you submit during peak processing periods, Jan. 15-April 30, or if you are filing the application from overseas). Thus, it is important that you review the rules now and apply right away, so you don’t miss out on this credit or delay any possible refund. ATIN applications also generally take 4 to 8 weeks.

For the Child Tax Credit, eligible children must have an SSN issued by the Social Security Administration before the due date of your tax return (including extensions). If you have a newborn or other child for whom you do not have an SSN yet, you may want to visit your local Social Security office or apply online soon and get one before you have to file.

More Help and Information

The Taxpayer Advocate Service wants to help you understand all the items that are changing and ones that are not, so please visit our website and take a few moments to look through the information listed there and find the tax items relevant for you and your family. We don’t want you to miss out on any tax-related items that have changed this year because you were unaware of them.

Other Resources: