Bay Area tax experts still processing GOP bill after passage

WASHINGTON (KGO) -- As GOP lawmakers celebrate the nation's biggest tax overhaul in more than 30 years, most Americans are still processing what it means for them. Now, some are turning to local tax professionals for advice, as they too, try to absorb the changes.

"We're getting all this late-breaking, big change information, at a really, really late time," says Jeffrey Lawrence, CPA, who is principal at Lawrence Accountancy Corporation in San Jose.

Under the new plan, taxpayers who itemize will only be able to deduct their state individual income, sales and property taxes up to a limit of $10,000 a year.

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"Most of them (clients) today are desperately trying to pay their property tax, and any estimated state taxes for 2017," says Lawrence.

Ami Shah, CPA, has been swamped with questions and concerns from clients.

"Tax professionals can do planning," says Shah. "I would insist that everybody review their tax returns and start planning for 2018."

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For those who prepare their taxes using software such as Intuit's TurboTax, company officials say updates are already underway for future versions.

"Consumers can know that our company has their back," said David Williams, Intuit Chief Tax Officer. "We'll make sure that we've got the tax law changes in place, and that they get every tax break they deserve, and the maximum refund allowable."

Intuit is also building a new online withholding calculator based on the new tax bill.

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"If your taxes are going to go down, you can change your withholdings, so you can get a better cash flow over the course of the year," says Williams.

For now, local tax experts are doing their best to stay up-to-date on the changes ahead.

"I'll be spending Christmas studying continuing education, that's what it boils down to, so that we're ready to go at the beginning of the year," said Lawrence.

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