Tax preparer warns clients about 2018 changes

Tax preparer warns clients about 2018 changes
Belinda Pinotti (Source: Mike Fussell/ WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ringing phones battle the bubbling of a fish tank in the lobby, creating an undertone of hurried sound at Highlands Tax and Accounting, just hours before Tax Day.

"They're in the normal jungle that they usually are in this time of year," owner Belinda Pinotti said.

You might expect that, but, what might come as a surprise, are the butterflies that decorate the walls. The decorations are indicative of and orchestrated by Belinda Pinotti, who has locally come to be known as the Tax Lady.

"They all know that scrapage is my middle name," Pinotti said.

She adds she's been in the business for more than a decade, and her clients have become family.

"I have watched people grow up," Pinotti said.

Pinotti said she's protective of her clients, adding that changes in the federal tax code for 2018 are things she's already warning her clients about, like an elimination of personal exemptions.

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"$20,000 to $25,000 to $30,000 deduction for all of the family members they're responsible for," Pinotti said. "That's a hit, and that's a hard hit."

A hard hit from a tax reform package others have applauded for cutting corporate and individual rates. Pinotti said she believes that won't be the only thing filers feel.

"The state changes of last week are pretty scary, to say the least," Pinotti said.

Those include a flat Kentucky income tax of five percent for individuals and businesses, and the removal of some deductions.

Belinda said the best strategy is to do anything that is going to tax defer their earnings because, if you don't plan ahead, tax filers may run into problems.

"You're going to owe Kentucky in a bad way or have to make a trip back to the Tax Lady," Pinotti said.

Pinotti said she's already filed more than 500 tax extensions this year.

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