On December 19, the IRS released Publication 5330, The New Tax Cut Law Will Impact Your 2018 Tax Return, with information that payroll professionals can use to respond to employee questions during the tax filing season.
The publication includes two key messages:
- “Remember, these changes come from the new tax law, not your payroll or human resource office.”
- “Your employer/payroll office doesn’t provide tax advice.”
Instead, the IRS directs employees to the IRS website and to tax professionals in order to understand changes caused by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA; Pub. L. 115-97).
Publication 5330 explains that there were major changes to the tax law for 2018 taxes. The tax tables issued earlier in the year made adjustments to take-home pay to reflect new tax rates. These adjustments may change the amount of employees’ tax refunds or tax bills during the filing season, especially if employees did not complete Forms W-4 to adjust their withholding during the year.
The IRS also advises employees on what to do in 2019 to better prepare themselves for the 2020 tax filing season. Emphasis is placed on determining the appropriate amount of withholding during the year by performing a “Paycheck Checkup,” even if an employee made adjustments to withholding in 2018.
Publication 5330 was developed by the IRS in partnership with APA (American Payroll Association) and includes both the IRS and APA official logos. At the request of Terry Lemons, the IRS’s Chief of Communications and Liaison, APA’s Government Relations Task Force (GRTF) Subcommittee on IRS Issues prepared a list of topics for IRS outreach. Payroll professionals likely distributed many messages about the TCJA to employees during the year. Publication 5330 provides an official notice that payroll and human resource offices can use to respond to employee questions.