IRS Tax Reform Updates Under the TCJA: Here’s What to Expect

October 03, 2018 : Alison Flores

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 23, 2018. 


The IRS is working on implementing changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Here are some of the major IRS tax reform updates you can expect.

Tax Reform Changes Include New and Updated Forms

As we look ahead to the next filing season, you may be wondering what will be new or different. With the tax reform updates, we’ll see new brand-new forms as well as current forms that have been updated to reflect specific changes.

New Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction Worksheet

One of the most exciting IRS tax reform changes is the anticipation of a new worksheet for taxpayers to calculate the qualified business income (QBI) deduction. Qualifying self-employed taxpayers, partners, and S corporation shareholders will use this worksheet to claim a QBI deduction on their tax returns.

If you’re in this group, learn more about the IRS guidance for the qualified business income deduction and work with your tax preparer to determine if you should make any changes to your estimated tax payments.

Updated IRS Tax Withholding Forms

Under the TCJA, most people will pay lower taxes, but some will pay higher taxes. This TCJA change means employers are generally withholding federal income taxes from paychecks at lower rates than in previous years.

Employees use Form W-4 to tell their employers how much to withhold from their paycheck. The IRS updated Form W-4 in 2018 to reflect the TCJA changes, but you are not required to submit a new one.

However, tax preparers recommend you use a withholding calculator to determine if you need to give your employer an updated Form W-4. H&R Block’s calculator will help you estimate your tax refund, or the IRS withholding calculator is another online option. Your tax preparer can also help you determine if you need to give your employer an updated Form W-4 or start making estimated tax payments.

You are most likely to need to increase your withholding if your children are age 17 or older, you usually itemized deductions in the past, or you don’t have any children or other dependents.

Tax Reform Means Changes in 2018 to IRS Processes

When you file your 2018 taxes next year, the tax filing process will feel familiar. But you’ll notice some TCJA changes.

One tax reform change is that you won’t claim a dependent exemption for your children or other dependents or a personal exemption for yourself or spouse. But you’ll still need all of the information about your dependents, because you may be able to claim the child tax credit or credit for other dependents instead.

IRS Tax Reform Changes for Taxpayers Who Itemize Deductions on Schedule A

A combination of tax reform updates means that fewer taxpayers are expected to itemize deductions on Schedule A in the future. If you currently itemize deductions, continue to keep track of your itemized expenses so you can figure out if the standard deduction or itemized deduction is better for you.

Here are some changes for itemized deductions:

  • Your total deduction for state and local taxes, including income or sales, real property, and personal property taxes, is limited to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately).
  • Your interest payments on a home equity loan might not be deductible.
  • You can no longer deduct employee business expenses.
  • In 2018, you can deduct medical expenses to the extent they exceed 7.5% of AGI.

If you’re a taxpayer who has itemized deductions in the past, you might find it more advantageous overall to claim a standard deduction.  Depending on your state, you might need to consider how itemizing or claiming a standard deduction on your federal and state returns impacts your overall tax liability.

New IRS Tax Reform Resources

The IRS website has a page dedicated to tax reform. Visit the page for new developments, frequently asked questions, publications and IRS guidance on the tax reform updates.

Wondering How Tax Reform Updates Will Affect You in 2018?

You’re not alone. The good news is that you have access to tax expertise you can trust. Rely on our Tax Pros to answer your questions about the tax reform changes.  Find your local tax office today.

Related Topics

Alison Flores

Alison Flores

The Tax Institute, H&R Block

Alison Flores, JD, is a principal tax research analyst at The Tax Institute. Alison specializes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, tax preparer regulation, and individual income tax issues.

Related Resources

2019 Tax Reform Calculator

Due to tax law changes, we know it can be difficult to estimate your refund or balance due. H&R Block experts outline how the changes are reflected in our tax reform calculator.

IRS Tax Problem Help

Need help with an IRS tax problem? The tax experts at H&R Block are here to help.

Payment Plan

Learn about IRS payment plans, also called installment agreements. Get insight from H&R Block on the options you may have if you can't pay your tax bill.

IRS Letter 2531 – Your Tax Return Doesn’t Match the Information We Have On File

Learn more about letter 2531, why you received the letter, and how to address it with help from the tax experts at H&R Block.