Millions are seeing smaller tax refunds. Here's what to do for next year.

9 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Friday, April 05 2019 Apr 5, 2019 Friday, April 05, 2019 5:30:00 PM CDT April 05, 2019 in Top Stories
By: Monica Madden, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY — The biggest federal tax cut since 1986 was bound to bring huge changes to Americans’ tax returns.

For millions, shrinking refunds is one result.

One of the loudest warnings lawmakers and tax preparers gave in 2018 was to pay extra attention to tax returns when looking for changes and adjusting withholdings. 

Many Americans depend on their tax refund as an extra springtime bonus. But that may not be the best idea, accountant Jeff Krieger said, as taxpayers should withhold just enough to cover what's due.

The average refund for 2018 is down about 9% from the previous year, the IRS reports

For people like Nancy Fossett, this surprise is leaving her scrambling to make up the difference.

“I'm kind of on my own trying to make ends meet, and it really was kind of upsetting that I was just expecting a better return,” she said.

Fossett said that while she understands the goal is to break even, that isn't always everyone’s preference.

“When it comes down to it, most people in a lower income bracket would rather pay a little bit more taxes throughout the year and get a bigger check,” she said. “There's always bills, or you need car repairs, or there's always something that you aren't able to do throughout the year because your income doesn't allot that.”

Fossett's refund was about $400 less this year than last.

However, she said, she did not adjust her withholdings from 2017 to 2018, which is something tax preparers warned people to consider because of the changes from last year's tax changes. 

Some refunds have decreased because of changes in the law, such as a new limit on property and local income tax deductions. Some have decreased because of how the IRS has altered withholdings in paychecks. Another factor for Missourians is the Department of Revenue's errors in its withholding tables. 

Jeff Krieger said taxpayers should take a look at the bigger picture. 

"I think what people really need to look at this year was what was the total amount of tax they paid last year, and what was the total amount of tax they paid this year," he said. "Not their refund or the balance due, but what was the actual tax number? And I think overall you’re going to see a lower tax."

According to the Tax Policy Center, 80 percent of filers received a tax cut, and about 5 percent paid more in federal income taxes. The tax cuts appeared in the form of larger weekly or biweekly paychecks for the majority of Americans, but Krieger said not everyone may have noticed that. 

"If you had a change in your take-home check and you didn’t get a raise, you probably ought to ask about why you got an increase in your paycheck," he said. "That usually meant less taxes are withheld and then you could owe at the end of the year."

Krieger said, for the most part, the majority of his clients have been happy this tax season. 

"Any time there’s a change, there’s gonna be people that are happy and there’s gonna be people that are upset," he said. "And if you’re one of the upset ones, make some changes so you aren’t upset next year." 

Accountants advise to do the following for the 2019 tax year.

  • If you have the flexibility to do so, put aside a little money each month instead of waiting for a reimbursement come tax season.
  • Adjust your withholdings properly if your take-home pay went up and you still want a refund.
  • When in doubt, talk to an expert. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Fire crews were dispatched to a residential structure fire in the 1000 Block of Laurel Drive on... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:19:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Kobe Bryant’s death shocked the nation and left many fans devastated. While mid-Missouri may be halfway across... More >>
7 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:24:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Police officers were dispatched to a report of an armed robbery at Domino’s Pizza, I-70 Drive Southwest, Sunday... More >>
7 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 8:56:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A judge sentenced a Fulton man to 17 years in prison last week after he admitted to... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 4:59:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would allow parents to record meetings with their child's educators is moving forward in... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 4:42:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are investigating a shooting between two cars, which started at a roundabout on Business Loop 70 Sunday... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 3:07:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
CALABASAS, Calif. - NBC reports Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna are among nine people who died in a helicopter crash... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 2:22:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Even though he grew up in Kentucky, Braden Tyrer is as big a Chiefs fan as they come.... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 2:21:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former southwestern Missouri fire chief convicted last year of raping a young woman has been... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:30:17 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Health officials in Los Angeles County have confirmed a fourth U.S. case of the new pneumonia-like... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:24:49 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia, Voluntary Action Center (VAC), and the Downtown Optimist Club are putting on their annual... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 11:31:00 AM CST January 26, 2020 in Continuous News
KINGDOM CITY— A Callaway County Sheriff's Office deputy found a stole firearm, numerous "felony level controlled substances" and drug paraphernalia... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:50:00 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Abortion is expected to play a key role in Missouri's 2020 governor’s race, when voters... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:21:45 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
BENTON COUNTY — A Blue Springs, Missouri woman is dead after a crash Saturday night. Andralee Taylor, 32, was... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:20:01 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County will celebrate its bicentennial in 2020, and one of the first efforts to create a... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:01:00 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Singing, dancing, and speaking were all part of The Cultural Association of India's annual India Day celebration Saturday afternoon.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 5:05:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Officers with the University of Missouri Police Department arrested John T. McLiney, 19, on one count of... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri is holding its 5th Annual Unity Concert. The goal of the event... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:53:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 29°
5am 28°
6am 28°
7am 28°
8am 29°