What to look for when filing your taxes this year

Reduced returns, extensions, and extra fees - they're all things we don't want you to be surprised by if you haven't done your taxes yet.

“The federal law change is the biggest change that we’ve had in federal tax law in 30 years,” said Michael Crabtree, a certified public accountant at Boulay Partners.

Crabtree confirms there's a reason CPAs say this tax season is a bear.

“For Minnesota tax payers, it's really heightened by the fact that Minnesota didn't change its law,” he said.

A lockstep bill went through the Legislature, but was vetoed by former Governor Mark Dayton. Stuck with a set of old laws for state taxes and a set of new laws for federal taxes, it puts Minnesotans in a pickle.

“It’s been extremely frustrating for us because there’s just so much extra work to do,” said Crabtree.

With federal limits on what you can itemize, Doug McDonald, a CPA and partner at Abdo, Eick and Meyers, says this may be the last year you can write off certain expenses.

“Business expenses you can deduct, but employee business expenses, if you’re an employee and you have unreimbursed expenses correct, you won’t be able to deduct those in 2019,” he said.

You can still deduct things like mortgage interest, real estate tax and charitable contributions to an extent.

“The hard part is are you going to get a benefit from trying to deduct all of these?” said McDonald.

With the average refund down more than eight percent you can also brace for a smaller check. While all tax payments are due on April 15, don't be shocked if you have to file an extension. Finally, you may hit the lint in your pocket just to file that return. It’s a fee that this time next year may not qualify as a write off.

“Most cases we’re going to have to charge our clients more because it costs more to do all this extra work – nobody likes that,” Crabtree said.

Employees with unreimbursed expenses will still want to do those calculations this year to see if it makes a difference on your Minnesota returns. Anyone with a small business or rental property will want to take advantage of deductions.

Next year's return is expected to be simpler, since Minnesotans will be filing under one method, instead of two.