BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are just seven weeks until tax day and the laws this year have changed, meaning most people who have already filed their returns aren’t getting the same amount back as last year.
This tax season has come with a learning curve.
Kara King Bess of King King and Associates said that the 2017 Tax Reform Act eliminated personal exemptions, and expanded standard deductions.
“They’re shocked at what the end result is,” said Bess.
The IRS said that last year, refunds averaged just over $2,100 but this year, the average dropped to about $1,900.
“I would say if you’re, you know, if you’re in the $50,000 range and didn’t itemize deductions, you’re actually going to see a benefit this year,” said Bess. “If you’re over $50,000 and you used to itemize, you’re not going to see as much of a benefit this year.”
The government did take less out of paychecks in 2018 but some taxpayers felt the sticker shock of a lower refund right away.
“Actually, I was surprised,” said tax-filer Erin Summers-Bogdan. “because I wasn’t anticipating getting what I got last year but there were a lot of things that just were different in this year’s filings.”
Others were pleasantly surprised.
“I’ve had some new circumstances that I’ve come under, so I just wasn’t sure what I was expecting,” tax-filer Zach Shepard said. “But it ended up being about the same.”
And some expecting a smaller refund got a bit more than they thought.
“Yeah, actually I wasn’t working that much,” said James Knox. “I was away in the military, so I’m happy that I did et more than what I got.”
There is no change in next year’s tax law, so experts say.
This year can be used as a base to adjust withholding allowances.