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Washington - Average Tax Refunds Fall, Creating Political Flashpoint

Published on: February 14, 2019 07:00 PM
By: AP
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(AP Photo)(AP Photo)

Washington - The average tax refund and the total amount of refunds issued declined for the second straight week, potentially intensifying a political flashpoint seized by Democrats as proof that the Republican-written tax law hurts the middle class.

The average refund in the second week of the filing season ended Feb. 8 was $1,949, down 8.7 percent from $2,135 a year earlier, according to IRS data released Thursday.

Total refunds to date are down 23 percent to $22.2 billion, from $28.9 billion last year.

The decline may be largely due to how some employees and employers had adjusted the amounts withheld from paychecks to account for changes under the new tax law. Most taxpayers received a tax cut under the law but some may have had too little withheld, resulting in a smaller-than-expected refund, or even money owed to the government.

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Refunds become an annual check that some three-quarters of U.S. taxpayers typically count on. For some lower-income households, it is the biggest cash infusion of the year.

The Treasury Department believes around 80 percent of taxpayers will see a decrease in their tax bill this year, while about 15 percent will owe roughly the same amount. Fewer people are expected to receive a refund this year. Government officials say that doesn’t reflect rising or falling tax liability.

The tax law enacted in late 2017 “cut taxes across the board, particularly for middle-income families,” Treasury said in a prepared statement. “Most people are seeing the benefits of the tax cut in larger paychecks throughout the year, instead of tax refunds that are the result of people overpaying the government.”

Social media posts have flared as early filers adjust.

Public discontent is providing Democrats with fodder for a tax overhaul they say is beneficial mostly for big corporations and the rich.

Following the first batch of IRS data last week, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic contender for the 2020 president nomination, tweeted, “The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the president’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1 percent.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, said Democrats are “obsessed with finding anything they can manufacture to declare this filing season a failure” for the new tax law.

“Never mind that the current refund numbers are based on only a few days of data or that refund statistics can vary widely from one week to the next,” Grassley said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

President Donald vowed that families would receive an average $4,000 tax cut. Most taxpayers did receive a tax cut. But because of how some workers adjusted the amount of money withheld from paychecks to account for the changes, some refunds have been smaller anticipated.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 14, 2019 at 07:06 PM Looney Liberals Says:

The reason why they are receiving smaller refunds is because they have been receiving more in their weekly check throughout the whole year.

2

 Feb 14, 2019 at 08:32 PM Anonymous Says:

I have never received a Federal refund and always end up owing. I owe considerably more this year because of the cap on the deduction for State and local taxes.

3

 Feb 14, 2019 at 08:41 PM Anonymous Says:

KKKamela's idiotic lie was given 4 pinocchios by the liberal WaPo.

4

 Feb 15, 2019 at 06:59 AM Anonymous Says:

To #2- You should have projected your tax liability a year ago, and appropriately adjusted your federal withholding. The above changes in the federal tax code, were announced over a year ago. Therefore, you should not be complaining now.

5

 Feb 15, 2019 at 10:17 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

To #2- You should have projected your tax liability a year ago, and appropriately adjusted your federal withholding. The above changes in the federal tax code, were announced over a year ago. Therefore, you should not be complaining now.

Nope. It's better to blame Trump. Right HAshomer?

6

 Feb 15, 2019 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

From #4 to #5- I am not Hashomer, you ill informed idiot!

7

 Feb 15, 2019 at 01:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

From #4 to #5- I am not Hashomer, you ill informed idiot!

I never said you were. It was a question for HAshomer

8

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