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Tax Refunds Are Smaller, and People Are Ticked - Page 2

Average return is $1,865 under new tax code, down 8% from last year
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2019 1:40 PM CST
Updated Feb 16, 2019 2:00 PM CST

  • The issue: Financial experts explain that what these people are overlooking is that their overall tax burden went down; they likely got bigger paychecks during the year, even if they didn't notice. “There’s a difference between taxes and your refund,” a senior research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute tells the Post. “People generally got a piece of their tax cut last year gradually in the form of lower withholding on their paychecks.”
  • Lost deductions: The tax law may have lowered tax rates and increased the standard deduction, but it also limited deductions for state and local taxes, per Yahoo Finance. In fact, the new tax code eliminates or modifies many long-used deductions, including those related to mortgage interest, student-loan interest, and moving expenses.
  • It's early: Tax-filing season runs through April 15, and it's possible trends could change. In fact, people seem to be delaying filing, perhaps because of all the changes: The IRS received 16 million returns in the first week, which is down 12.4% from last year.
  • They're doing it wrong: Those who have traditionally gotten fat refund checks from the IRS may think it's great, but it's more likely a sign that they need to examine their withholdings. "A large refund from the IRS may seem like an advantage, but it isn't the best or most effective use of your cash flow," a rep from Robert W. Baird & Co. tells CNBC. "You're basically giving the IRS an interest-free loan."
(Read more tax returns stories.)

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