As tax season ramps up, millions of Americans are reportedly in for a rude awakening as they discover that the tax code overhaul in December 2017 means their refunds are going to be smaller – or even that they owe money to the IRS.
According to the Washington Post, social media has already blown up over the reduced refunds, with many blaming President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The tax reform bill has been touted as Trump’s signature legislation from his first year in office, and it passed with only GOP congress members voting in favor of it.
The hashtag #GOPTaxScam is trending, with people sharing stories about how their refunds are going to be affected. Some have even said they won’t be voting for Trump again as a result. According to the IRS, the average refund this year has dropped by 8 percent, and refunds are down overall by nearly a fourth.
IRS officials have cautioned that at this early stage of filing season, it’s too early to tell what the overall numbers will be. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been warning people since last summer that the number of filers receiving refunds was likely to decline sharply, while those who will owe money will rise. The GAO cited estimates by the IRS that some 4.6 million fewer taxpayers would be getting a refund.
Completed my taxes. I file the same every year, claiming nothing. Getting back a fraction of 2017 return. Apparently I mis-read everything. Should have been called "Tax Refund Cuts" cause my returns suck!! Thanks @realDonaldTrump #taxrefund #TaxReturns
— Andrew Loughlin (@awloughlin) February 4, 2019
However, Treasury officials have touted a “successful” roll-out to filing season, following the 35-day government shutdown.
“Filing season has successfully launched with millions of tax returns having been filed,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement posted on the Department of Treasury website.
“We thank the Treasury and IRS employees who have been working diligently to ensure the system is processing these returns efficiently.”
Many Twitter users disagreed, pointing out that not only have they gotten less money back than they were expecting, but also noting that big banks and wealthy individuals are getting more.
According to Bloomberg, big banks saw their tax bills reduced by about $21 billion last year, an amount that is nearly double the entire annual budget of the IRS.
Last year I got a tax refund of $1,000. This year, with unchanged income, I got a $300 refund.
I’m a waiter.
Yet the very wealthy got huge cuts. #ThanksRepublicans
— CalamityCurtis (@CalamityCurtis) February 4, 2019
Meanwhile, pundits and critics of the president are apparently enjoying an “I told you so” moment, watching Trump supporters awaken to the realization that the tax cut doesn’t seem like it was cracked up to be.
“Donald Trump would never lie about anyone’s taxes. How dare you,” joked Republican strategist Rick Tyler during an MSNBC panel discussion on Sunday, per Newsweek.
“Look, people can defend the actual tax cut that got passed, and I can defend elements of it, but don’t sell it as a middle-class tax cut when it wasn’t. Now people are finding out.”