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Your Money: The IRS Form 1040 looks different, in more ways than one

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Your Money: The IRS Form 1040 looks different, in more ways than one

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While this year’s taxapalooza is off to a slow start because of the earlier U.S. government shutdown, one thing already is clear: your refund might be a whole lot smaller than you were expecting.

FILE PHOTO: The new Form 1040 tax form for individuals, released by U.S. Treasury Department, is shown in this handout image obtained June 29, 2018. Department of the Treasury/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its first set of filing season statistics last week. The average refund was down 8.4 percent from the equivalent period last year, at $1,865 from $2,035.

The lower refund amount is tied up in changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect in 2018. To match the new law, the government last year changed the amount of tax withholding it takes out of paychecks.

Yet many people did not notice and adjust their withholding. So when it comes to tax time, filers may be getting back less – even if their overall tax burden was lower than the previous year.

Not everyone should expect smaller refunds. Some may get worse news, and actually end up owing, particularly single taxpayers in states with high local taxes.

Tynisa Gaines, an enrolled agent tax preparer based in Henrico, Virginia, has a single client who is going to owe more this year in taxes, even though he is now in a lower tax bracket. This is because he can no longer deduct as much of his state and local taxes, which results in a difference of about $5,000 more in taxable income for 2018.

“He’s going to be mad,” Gaines said. “I haven’t told him yet.”

HIDDEN TEXT

One big change that will make refunds look different is the tax form itself. Filers used to skipping straight to line 76 to make sure their refund is correct can now find that information on line 19.

The new cosmetic look of the 1040 form belies all the changes within. The redesign squishes what used to be 79 lines of information into just 22, on two half-sheets of paper.

But things did not get streamlined and simplified. All of those missing lines now correspond to six new numbered schedules and several worksheets. And that is in addition to the existing alphabetical schedules (A for itemizing deductions, B for interest and dividends, etc.)

“It’s not a postcard, you can’t mail it. It’s maddening,” said Jerry Gaddis, an enrolled agent tax preparer based in Winter Haven, Florida.

If you are an Uber driver, for example, you used to have a simple return, with just a Schedule C for business income. This kind of return is now the most complicated, said Gaines, who is seeing 15 more pages per return, on average.

You need several new additional schedules and worksheets to figure out the new 20 percent deduction for qualified business income, she added.

Phyllis Jo Kubey, an enrolled agent in New York, has basically given up trying to process the changes visually. Her tax software even comes with a “1040 reconciliation worksheet,” which takes everything on this year’s tax form and makes it look like an old 1040.

“It’s easier for me to find things on the old form than to look at six different schedules,” Kubey said.

Kubey is especially concerned for senior citizens, who might be among the last of those who fill out the 1040 by hand.

“Can you imagine if you have been doing taxes every year of your life on paper, and then all the sudden you get this? I’d go nuts,” Kubey said.

For taxpayers who file electronically, the new form might not have that much of an impact. A professional tax preparer will take your information the same as always and deal with the changes for you.

DIY tax software will prompt you for the information needed in a similar manner to previous years, with just a few new questions.

It is when the results are printed out that most people will notice the difference. Kubey decided to sidestep this by giving a copy of the old-style version to her clients with the file copy of their return.

While Kubey wants them to understand the new tax system, she knows that they will have trouble comparing this year to any past years if they cannot see the information in a way that matches it up.

Gaddis is doing something similar for clients – his software creates a three-year comparison in the old form’s style.

“I don’t even show them the new 1040,” Gaddis said. “They wouldn’t understand it and I couldn’t explain it.”

Editing by Lauren Young and G Crosse

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‘T2 Trainspotting’ actor Bradley Welsh shot dead in Scotland

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‘T2 Trainspotting’ actor Bradley Welsh shot dead in Scotland

“T2 Trainspotting” actor Bradley Welsh was shot dead Wednesday in Scotland’s capital, officials said.

Welsh, who played Doyle, a gangland figure in the sequel to “Trainspotting,” was shot in Edinburgh’s west end. Welsh’s age wasn’t clear.

SWEDISH ACTRESS BIBI ANDERSSON DEAD AT AGE 83

The Edinburgh Police Division said officers were called to the incident following a report of a disturbance. When medical officials arrived, they discovered a man “seriously injured in the street and sadly passed away at the scene.” Police said they were treating the man’s death as “suspicious” and are investigating. Anyone with information was asked to contact police. Police did not name the man shot.

A number of media outlets, including The Scotsman and the BBC, confirmed the actor’s death. Irvine Welsh, the author of “Trainspotting,” paid tribute to the fallen actor. The two men are not related.

A floral tribute at the scene of the shooting of Bradley Welsh, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday April 18, 2019.

A floral tribute at the scene of the shooting of Bradley Welsh, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday April 18, 2019.
(Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

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“Bradley John Welsh, my heart is broken,” he tweeted. “Goodbye my amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way.”

Welsh appeared alongside Ewan McGregor in the sequel. He also appeared on Bravo’s “Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men” in 2009. Welsh had no prior acting experience before appearing in “T2 Trainspotting.” Welsh was reportedly a lightweight boxing champion.

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‘Stranger Things’ creators fail to get plagiarism case tossed; trial set for next month

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'Stranger Things' creators fail to get plagiarism case tossed; trial set for next month

The third season of “Stranger Things” is set to launch on Netflix on July 4, but series creators the Duffer Brothers are probably more focused on another date after a judge today rejected their attempt to get a plagiarism lawsuit dismissed.

Unless L.A. Superior Court Judge Michael Stern changes his mind soon or plaintiff Charlie Kessler backs off, Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer are heading for an Upside Down of their own with a May 6 starting trial.

“Triable issues of fact remain to be determined concerning what plaintiff said, what he meant to convey by his conversation and how the defendants responded before it can be definitively concluded whether or not an implied in fact contract was formed,” Judge Stern wrote Wednesday (read it here).

“Defendants submit that their creation was independent and occurred prior to plaintiff’s alleged disclosure of his idea to them,” the LASC judge added, taking aim at the Duffers’ insistence that filmmaker Kessler’s allegations are baloney. “They each submit declarations relying upon and substantiating the credibility of each other’s testimony. However, there is little independent verifying evidence of the originality of their idea.”

Basically, this year-long case is going to trial because the court has seen no proof that Matt and Ross Duffer came up with the incredibly successful and multi-Emmy nominated 1980s-set supernatural drama other than Matt and Ross Duffer saying that they did.

Extras may find themselves “banding together” this fall to film the show “Stranger Things.”

Extras may find themselves “banding together” this fall to film the show “Stranger Things.”
(Netflix)

“Without such admissible evidence, we are left with an issue of determining credibility that must be decided by the trier of fact,” the denial of the Brothers’ summary judgment motion notes. “Moreover, whether or not there is a similarity between the concepts to be discerned by comparing them is a subissue of independent creation that must be decided by the trier of fact.”

“The Duffer Brothers have our full support,” said a Netfix spokesperson Wednesday of this potential Demogorgon. “This case has no merit, which we look forward to being confirmed by a full hearing of the facts in court.”

Clearly the other side thinks the matter has a boatload of merit and also thinks it’s time for the streaming service and the Duffers to drop that line, among others.

“Now that the Judge has ruled and denied their motion for summary judgment, we can now dispense with the nonsense promoted by the Duffers and Netflix that this lawsuit has no merit, and that they had ‘proof’ that they created the show,” Kessler’s attorney S. Michael Keman of the self title Santa Monica firm states after today’s decision. “If the lawsuit had no merit, or if they actually had the ‘proof’ they created it, then their summary judgment would have won.  They lost.  These motions are very hard to fight and winning this Motion shows Mr. Kessler has a good case.  We look forward to proving Mr. Kessler’s case at trial.”

Filmmaker Kessler claimed in his initial April 2, 2018 filing that he pitched the concept to the Duffers four years beforehand at a Tribeca Film Festival party. The “Montauk” director also asserted that he later handed over “the script, ideas, story and film” to the brother and that they allegedly used that material develop Stranger Things.

Kessler says the Duffers used the working title “The Montauk Project” during the early stages of Stranger Things, which was originally set in the Long Island town of the title (a setting later changed to Indiana). It should be stated that when Duffers project with Netflix was first announced in 2015, it was called “Montauk” and was set in Long Island.

Not totally unlike the first season of “Stranger Things” in 2016, the plot of Kessler’s 2012 “Montauk” short film revolves around a missing boy, a nearby military base conducting experiments on children and a monster from another dimension that looks like a toy.

Regardless, the day after Kessler’s suit was put in LASC docket, the Duffers said that they considered the action “completely meritless” and “just an attempt to profit” from the Netflix series.

They might have to offer up a bit more than that in court next month.

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Timothy Olyphant recalls working with Luke Perry on ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

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Timothy Olyphant recalls working with Luke Perry on 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Luke Perry’s last role will be in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and his co-star Timothy Olyphant got a front-row seat to the late actor’s final performance.

Perry, who died this March after suffering a massive stroke, had completed all of his scenes in the upcoming film prior to his sudden death.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which hits theaters this summer, stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio as a washed-up actor and his longtime stunt double. The film is set in 1969 Hollywood against the backdrop of the rise of the Charles Manson cult, with Pitt and DiCaprio’s character living next door to Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie), the actress famously killed in the Manson murders.

Perry will play the role of real-life actor Wayne Maunder, who co-starred in the late ’60s TV western “Lancer” with actor James Stacy, who will be portrayed by Olyphant.

Given their storylines, Olyphant shared many of his scenes with Perry.

“What a lovely guy. Just a lovely guy. I’m going to miss him at that premiere. I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss him anyway,” Olyphant recently told Variety at the New York City premiere of his animated film “Missing Link.”

“We just met on the film, but the two of us showed up, and we kept looking at each other like, ‘How’d we get in? I don’t know who let us in, but they let us in,’” Olyphant said with a smile, recalling his time working opposite Perry, calling the Tarantino film a “dream come true.” He continued, “There were so many moments where it just felt like the two of us would look at each other and we both had the same look on our face, which is, ‘Not bad. Here we are.’”

Olyphant said although he and Perry are not particularly close, they spent time together on set talking about their families. He also remembered Perry for his genuine kindness and work ethic.

“I haven’t met anyone who’s ever said a bad thing about the guy, and that was my experience hanging out with him and working with him,” Olyphant said. “He was the best kind of actor. He was a craftsman. He was all about the work. No bulls—. He showed up early and did his work, and we spent most of our time talking about our families and just enjoying the job. Just a lovely guy.”

Perry’s was not the only death to hit “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The late Burt Reynolds was attached to appear in the star-studded film, but hadn’t filmed his scenes prior to his death in September 2018. Bruce Dern replaced Reynolds in his role.

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