Once you’ve filed your return, talk to your tax professional about the drivers behind that surprise tax bill.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the overhaul of the tax code that went into effect last year, raised the standard deduction to $12,000 for singles ($24,000 for married-filing-jointly), suspended personal exemptions and limited itemized deductions.
The new law also changed the withholding tables that your employer uses to ensure you have sufficient income tax taken from your pay.
Failure to withhold enough tax — say, in a situation where you have a side job along with your regular 9-to-5 — could result in a surprise tax bill for 2019.
Take steps to avoid the same outcome next spring.
“If your situation is going to be similar next year in terms of what you earn, then you want your withholding situation to be different,” Stern said.