Millions in U.S. didn’t get tax refund this year — and may not in 2020, either – By Nicholas Sakelaris (UPI) / April 15 2019
April 15 (UPI) — Some Americans are getting a sobering surprise as they finish their 2018 taxes — instead of getting a refund like they expected, they owe money.
A NerdWallet survey found 20 percent of Americans who’ve filed their 2018 federal tax return ended up owing money. Of those taxpayers, 32 percent received a refund last year. That amounts to 7.9 million Americans who owe money this year.
“The new tax rules will affect people’s final tax bill, whether they owe or get a refund, so they have changed everyone’s tax situation,” NerdWallett tax specialist Andrea Coombes told the New York Daily News. “That means you should go in and make sure your withholding is appropriate.”
President Donald Trump drastically changed the tax brackets and doubled the standard deduction when he passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law in December 2017. Americans who earn $150,000 or less and have dependents benefited the most, with $2,000 in child tax credits. The standard deduction will continue to increase every year through 2025.
The new tax laws also eliminated personal exemptions and cut the mortgage tax deduction. Also, too many Americans didn’t change their withholding — the amount of tax deducted from each paycheck — which didn’t compensate for the changes. The NerdWallet survey found only 17 percent of taxpayers changed their withholding after the new law went into effect.
“They didn’t heed the warnings from the IRS about checking their withholding,” said Cindy Hockenberry, director of tax research and government relations.
More changes are also in store for taxpayers next year, too. The IRS has issued a revised W-4 form that aims to get the withholding amount closer to what each taxpayer truly owes at the end of the year — meaning the difference at tax time would be less. The move could entirely eliminate tax refunds, but should also reduce the number of people who owe taxes each year.
“It’ll be a much bigger pain,” said Pete Isberg, head of government affairs at payroll company ADP. “The accuracy will be 100 percent but the ease-of-use will be zero.”
Hockenberry said hiring a tax professional is one surefire way to get your taxes right. Fees to hire one range from $176 to $273, depending on the complexity of your return.
“It really is crucial to making sure you don’t get a surprise at tax time next year,” Hockenberry said.