#GOPTaxScam Promises vs. Reality: Tax Refund Edition
Washington Post: Millions of Americans could be stunned as their tax refunds shrink
Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds.
People have already taken to social media, using the hashtag #GOPTaxScam, to vent their anger. Many blame President Trump and the Republicans for shrinking refunds. Some on Twitter even said they wouldn’t vote for Trump again after seeing their refunds slashed.
“It totally feels like a scam,” said Prugh, who did not vote for Trump. “I did still get a small refund, but compared to what I was expecting from previous years, it was shock.”
The average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year compared to last, the IRS reported Friday, and the number of people receiving a refund so far has dropped by almost a quarter.
Tax season has just begun and some Americans have already filed their taxes for 2018. And while many people generally expect a hefty refund, several have found themselves with a surprise tax bill from the IRS.
“I literally screamed when I saw my refund,” says Elissa Crooks. The 41-year-old from Orlando says that her refund was slashed by roughly $1,400 when she filed her 2018 taxes a few days ago.
“I waited over the weekend to hit the send button because I thought something had to be missing,” she says. “I went over it with a fine-toothed comb. I didn’t know why it was so different.”
Crooks isn’t alone. On Twitter, the hashtags #TrumpTaxScam and #GOPTaxScam are full of angry tweeters, complaining that their refunds were either greatly reduced, or that they now owe the IRS, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in December 2017.
You may be getting less money than you expect in your tax refund this year. Or worse, you may be on the hook to pay.
The drop could be an early indicator of how the tax changes introduced in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are affecting Americans.
Dipping refunds are inflaming a growing army of taxpayers stunned by the consequences of the Trump administration’s tax law — and the effects of the partial government shutdown.
Low-income taxpayers often file early to pocket the money as soon as possible. Many taxpayers count on the refunds to make important payments, or spend the money on things like home repairs, a vacation or a car.
Scads of taxpayers are complaining on Twitter that they have always received a refund — but now owe the IRS instead.
The number of refunds sent out by the IRS was also down — about 24 percent — as the agency struggled to get up to speed after the government shutdown. The agency sent out about 4.67 million tax refunds in the week ending Feb. 1, compared with about 6.17 million in the same period in 2018, according to IRS data.
This year’s filing season, which began two days after the shutdown ended on Jan. 25, is complicated because it’s the first after the 2017 tax law was enacted. Though President Donald Trump boasted that the new code would be so simplified that people could file their taxes on a postcard, that’s not the case.
Once again, American families are feeling the reality behind the empty promises of the GOP Tax Scam.