Why Tax Season Will Be as Confusing as Ever, Even With Postcard-Size Forms

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It’s been a few months since you filed your taxes — unless you filed for an extension — but I hope you haven’t forgotten about the new tax law that passed at the end of last year.

You might vaguely remember something about the $1.5 trillion tax cut known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It eliminated personal exemptions, increased the standard deduction, increased the child tax credit, and changed tax rates and brackets.

The tax reform didn’t affect this year’s filing season, but it’ll be in full swing by January 2019, and the IRS is already drafting new forms to celebrate… I mean, in accordance.

Meet the New 1040 Tax Form

Earlier in June, the draft of the new W-4 form was introduced. The instructions alone were cut from four pages down to two.

On Friday, the Treasury and IRS revealed the draft of the new 1040. It’s a half-page, front-and-back form with 23 lines (down from a full front-and-back page with 79 lines).

But just because the forms are getting shorter doesn’t mean taxes are getting easier or quicker to file.

Most of the questions taken out of the 1040 were moved to six new schedule forms. So if you’re filing online, you may not notice any difference in time, effort or confusion.

Because these are still drafts, they’ll probably change, so there’s not much you can do right now. But if you’re looking to be proactive, check your deductions on your current W-4 to make sure you’re still withholding enough to avoid a tax bill come April.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.