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Old 05-28-2020, 04:21 AM
 
Location: Seymour TN
1,969 posts, read 5,894,477 times
Reputation: 1299

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I don't hear other people complaining, and when I googled it I couldn't find any information, but I can't understand why our federal tax return changed so much this year. Our income has not changed, and we do not itemize.
2 years ago we got approx $400 refund. Last year was around $800 refund. Last year my husband heard on MSNBC that Trump had changed the tax chart, and every year since he took office the amount of withholding changed. So at that point we both started having additional money withheld from our paychecks. Even doing that, we still owed approx $400 this year (for 2019 - you know what I mean). If we hadn't done that, we might have owed $800!
I don't understand taxes, and this is not meant to be a rant against Trump, I just want to know what happened, and it's very frustrating I can't get any info. Even people who do taxes for a living can't answer me.

 
Old 05-28-2020, 04:28 AM
 
80,167 posts, read 78,518,791 times
Reputation: 56679
i got more back ...what you get back is dependent on so many factors including what you withhold , deductions and other income . we are all different
 
Old 05-28-2020, 06:12 AM
 
29,153 posts, read 35,565,299 times
Reputation: 38478
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDevil View Post
I don't hear other people complaining, and when I googled it I couldn't find any information, but I can't understand why our federal tax return changed so much this year. Our income has not changed, and we do not itemize.
2 years ago we got approx $400 refund. Last year was around $800 refund. Last year my husband heard on MSNBC that Trump had changed the tax chart, and every year since he took office the amount of withholding changed. So at that point we both started having additional money withheld from our paychecks. Even doing that, we still owed approx $400 this year (for 2019 - you know what I mean). If we hadn't done that, we might have owed $800!
I don't understand taxes, and this is not meant to be a rant against Trump, I just want to know what happened, and it's very frustrating I can't get any info. Even people who do taxes for a living can't answer me.
I would think it would be a very simple thing to compare your tax returns.
 
Old 05-28-2020, 07:07 AM
 
455 posts, read 489,490 times
Reputation: 742
You either pay throughout the year or with your return. You can change the amount taken out of your check at any time.
 
Old 05-28-2020, 07:14 AM
 
Location: NC
7,404 posts, read 9,263,290 times
Reputation: 15618
Go back and look at the amount total that you owed. Ignore what you paid in withholding and what you owed still or got back at the end of the year. It’s the total you owed that counts

However when there is a new formula for withholding it screws everyone up. I use an accountant so did not calculate myself, but it appears there is a new and difficult process this year.
 
Old 05-28-2020, 07:42 AM
 
7,648 posts, read 3,605,936 times
Reputation: 21780
Actually your very best result would be to write the IRS a check for the maximum possible amount that avoids penalties for being under-withheld. When you receive a refund it means the government, not you, has had the use of that money for a year.


And of course as someone else pointed out, your "refund vs. send more" scenario is not an indication of whether you paid more, less, or the same amount of tax. For that you actually have to LOOK AT your tax return.


This is why I recommend that anyone who's starting out in the workforce fill out their first few years of tax returns themselves, by hand, with pencil and calculator, not relying on a canned program or a tax preparer. You need to understand what is and isn't taxable income, what is the actual meaning of "deductions" and "writing it off on your taxes"; how much you're actually paying; how refunds are calculated, etc. There are enormous misconceptions, even amongst people who otherwise appear well informed, about the actual workings of the US tax system.
 
Old 05-28-2020, 07:47 AM
 
7,648 posts, read 3,605,936 times
Reputation: 21780
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDevil View Post
Even people who do taxes for a living can't answer me.
I call BS on that. How many tax preparers have you shown your last year's return, and this year's, to?


Any competent tax preparer can answer why your refund/payment amount is different this year than last.




But heck, you can answer that question yourself. Take out your tax returns for last year and this year. Now take a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. Label the first column "Item", the second one "2019", the third one "2018" and the fourth one "2019-2018".


Now go down your return. Enter the name of each item and its value for the two returns, and subtract 2019 from 2018 to see what went up and down (the names of each item have remained constant for at least the last 40 years I"ve been paying US income tax).


You will quickly see what changed and why you got a refund last year and needed to pay more this year.


Do this exercise and come back here to report your results.
 
Old 05-28-2020, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
13,464 posts, read 8,296,075 times
Reputation: 17515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuero View Post
You either pay throughout the year or with your return. You can change the amount taken out of your check at any time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
This is why I recommend that anyone who's starting out in the workforce fill out their first few years of tax returns themselves, by hand, with pencil and calculator, not relying on a canned program or a tax preparer. You need to understand what is and isn't taxable income, what is the actual meaning of "deductions" and "writing it off on your taxes"; how much you're actually paying; how refunds are calculated, etc. There are enormous misconceptions, even amongst people who otherwise appear well informed, about the actual workings of the US tax system.
And "Trump" can't; the OP "screwed' him/herself. Why are some people so eager to blame somebody else for their own failure to learn and think?

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 05-28-2020 at 08:05 AM..
 
Old 05-28-2020, 08:02 AM
 
80,167 posts, read 78,518,791 times
Reputation: 56679
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
I call BS on that. How many tax preparers have you shown your last year's return, and this year's, to?


Any competent tax preparer can answer why your refund/payment amount is different this year than last.




But heck, you can answer that question yourself. Take out your tax returns for last year and this year. Now take a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. Label the first column "Item", the second one "2019", the third one "2018" and the fourth one "2019-2018".


Now go down your return. Enter the name of each item and its value for the two returns, and subtract 2019 from 2018 to see what went up and down (the names of each item have remained constant for at least the last 40 years I"ve been paying US income tax).


You will quickly see what changed and why you got a refund last year and needed to pay more this year.


Do this exercise and come back here to report your results.
yep ! it is B.S. anyone looking at their return can tell them why compared to last year and it can be any parameter at all compared to the year before ...it is easy to tell
 
Old 05-28-2020, 08:25 AM
 
7,648 posts, read 3,605,936 times
Reputation: 21780
Well, actually the quote is "even people who do taxes for a living can't answer me".


So, if I were a tax accountant and someone came up to me and said


"WAAAHHHH I got screwed on my taxes last year I got a refund this year I had to pay its so unfair its all Donald Trumps fault WAAAAHHHH WHYYY WHYYYY does this always happen to MEEEEE?"


then I'd probably say "I can't answer you why you had to pay more this year and last year you had a refund, without you showing me both tax returns and letting me figure it out." At which point the complaint becomes


"WAAAHHHH I got screwed on my taxes last year I got a refund this year I had to pay its so unfair its all Donald Trumps fault WAAAAHHHH WHYYY WHYYYY does this always happen to MEEEEE even people who do taxes for a living can't answer me"
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