Major Tax Law Changes Affecting Refunds

WINTER PARK, Fla. — A financial adviser says many people could see major changes when they file their taxes this year, thanks to new tax laws passed in 2017. 

  • Some people are seeing changes in their tax refunds
  • People reporting smaller refunds, others say they owe IRS 
  • The change is because of new tax laws in effect

Some people on social media are even reporting not getting a refund for the first time in years.

Mary Tindall says with four kids and her own business, she’s been looking forward to getting a refund.

“We have a growing young family, and we’ve been trying to save up for purchases like a minivan,” she said.

Tindall said in her case, her refund was much higher than she expected. She found out she’ll be getting several thousand dollars more back from the federal government than she first thought.

“I’m just relieved and grateful,” Tindall said.

Tindall’s refund went up because under the new tax laws passed in 2017, the child tax credit doubles.

But some people on social media — using the hash tag #GOPTaxScam — are complaining their tax refund went way down. Some say they are even having to pay money to the federal government for the first time in years.

The IRS reports that so far in the 2019 tax filing season, refunds are down 8.4 percent compared with 2018.

But certified public accountant Steve Cohn says there’s no across-the-board hike in taxes. He says it depends on each person’s individual circumstance. Cohn says some may see their refunds go down, while others will see them go up. Cohn says many people may see a lower refund because they had less taken out paycheck to paycheck.

“It’s entirely possible people are seeing lower withholding than anticipated, and that’s causing them to owe tax,” said Cohn, with HHCBR, a certified public accounting firm in Altamonte Springs.

Cohn said the federal government raised the threshold for some deductions, which may affect tax refunds. He said with all of the changes, he suggests tax filers get some financial assistance.

“Because of major changes to the law, you should go back and meet with your tax adviser to review your 2018 taxes situation, because you may be in for either a pleasant or unpleasant surprise,” he said.

Tindall sought financial advice. And in her case, she got good news with a higher-than-expected refund.

“I feel bad for people who got less than they thought they would, but I think there are probably reasons for that,” she said.

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