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Changes and help for filing 2018 taxes

MADISON (WKOW) — Recent changes to tax laws have made made the process more challenging, some advisers say.

“Tax law was not written for human consumption,” said Paul Swanson, a volunteer who helps people file their taxes.

Swanson has been helping people file their taxes for 30 years and volunteering with Dane County Extension’s free tax assistance program for 18 years.

“If you’re doing just one return a year there is no way you can keep up with the changes,” Swanson said.

This year the changes are big.

“The federal government passed probably the most sweeping tax reform definitely in our generation,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.

2018 was the first full year of the GOP-led tax overhaul. After the first week of filling, the IRS says the average refund is down 8.4% from last year, but that doesn’t mean people are not getting that money.

“When this law took effect a lot of people’s pay checks increased because there wasn’t as much income tax withheld,” said Deb Neubauer, a financial educator for Dane County Extension.

Filers could see some delays in the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit because of the government shutdown.

“In the past the IRS would hold those returns until February 15 and this year it has been pushed back to February 27th,” Neubauer said.

These are some of the questions volunteers can answer for people taking advantage of Dane County Extension’s free tax preparation service.

“We want to make sure that everybody gets every single credit that they deserve,” Neubauer said.

The Richard Dilley Tax Center is open from until April 15th:
Mondays:          Noon – 6:00PM
Wednesdays:    Noon – 6:00PM
Saturdays:         9:00AM – 3:00PM

There is another walk-in location at St. Dennis Church open Thursdays: 9:00am-12:00pm.

There are more than a dozen other locations that are opened by appointment, you can find those here.

“Don’t pay to have your taxes done if you don’t have to,” Neubauer said.

The Dane County Extension’s free tax assistance program is for low-income individuals and families, seniors and/or people with disabilities.

Amanda Hari

Reporter, WKOW

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