29 votes

Americans asking, 'What happened to my refund?'

18 comments

  1. [2]
    Pilgrim Link
    The thread on /r/trumpgret was particularly juicy. There was another one on /r/personalfinance where someone at a guy's work turned down a bonus because it would put him in a higher tax bracket....

    The thread on /r/trumpgret was particularly juicy.

    There was another one on /r/personalfinance where someone at a guy's work turned down a bonus because it would put him in a higher tax bracket. The financial illiteracy among adults is gobsmacking. Here's a different thread about the same thing.

    I think Trump is going to lose a number of supporters over this...

    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. - H. L. Mencken, US editor (1880 - 1956)

    17 votes
    1. dainumer Link Parent
      As much as I'd like for Trump supporters to wake up to the realization that the Tax Act was a scam, I don't think they will. All Trump has to say is that the Democrats. particularly AOC (the...

      As much as I'd like for Trump supporters to wake up to the realization that the Tax Act was a scam, I don't think they will. All Trump has to say is that the Democrats. particularly AOC (the villain of the week), raised their taxes and that will be enough to placate them until the next election.

      3 votes
  2. [4]
    Fin Link
    My mother, who worked the same hours/job as last year, claimed the same stuff is seeing about 2,000 less this year.

    My mother, who worked the same hours/job as last year, claimed the same stuff is seeing about 2,000 less this year.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      Ephemere Link Parent
      Did her withholdings throughout the year change? I’ve heard that as a common retort in these threads. I unfortunately can’t compare the end result myself, as I made a significantly different...

      Did her withholdings throughout the year change? I’ve heard that as a common retort in these threads. I unfortunately can’t compare the end result myself, as I made a significantly different income from last year.

      2 votes
      1. Pilgrim Link Parent
        My understanding is that many people paid less into the government over the course of the year but unless withholding were adjusted then not enough may have been taken out. My expectation is that...

        My understanding is that many people paid less into the government over the course of the year but unless withholding were adjusted then not enough may have been taken out. My expectation is that very few people actually adjusted their withholding.

        1 vote
      2. Fin Link Parent
        No idea, I don't think. She just said that she was getting around 2k less.

        No idea, I don't think. She just said that she was getting around 2k less.

  3. stromm Link
    My income didn't change from last filing (I'm salary) and I now owe the Feds $1523 where last year I got $32 back. And also owe my state $1500 where last year I owed $200.

    My income didn't change from last filing (I'm salary) and I now owe the Feds $1523 where last year I got $32 back.

    And also owe my state $1500 where last year I owed $200.

    4 votes
  4. JXM Link
    I owe about $500 more than last year, but I'm not surprised. Taxes in the U.S. are way too complicated. Regardless of the party in power, I don't know anyone who would disagree with that statement.

    I owe about $500 more than last year, but I'm not surprised.

    Taxes in the U.S. are way too complicated. Regardless of the party in power, I don't know anyone who would disagree with that statement.

    4 votes
  5. [5]
    Greg Link
    Slightly tangential, but is it as common as it appears for US taxes to be over/under paid and then corrected? I know that you all have to fill in a return, regardless of complexity (I've heard...

    Slightly tangential, but is it as common as it appears for US taxes to be over/under paid and then corrected?

    I know that you all have to fill in a return, regardless of complexity (I've heard this is partly a result of lobbying from the filing intermediaries, but I don't know how true that is), but it seems as though the employer would still be able to calculate the withheld amount precisely for anyone with a single income source. I'm trying to work out if any why it wouldn't be the case, especially on fixed salaries that a couple of people here have mentioned.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      nic Link Parent
      Very common. The employer doesn't have a clue how much your spouse earns, what your mortgage payments are etc...

      Very common.

      The employer doesn't have a clue how much your spouse earns, what your mortgage payments are etc...

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        Greg Link Parent
        The examples you chose just made me realise that numeric adjustments like that aren't generally a thing in the UK system. There are a few yes/no options that might push you into paying a slightly...

        The examples you chose just made me realise that numeric adjustments like that aren't generally a thing in the UK system. There are a few yes/no options that might push you into paying a slightly different percentage, but actual quantitative deductions are unusual for the majority.

        I'm now also thinking that a system where the default is not to file a return is a system that subtly discourages the government from introducing those kind of options specifically because the rolling calculation for most people has to be exact.

        It's interesting, the kind of little differences that are taken so much for granted that they go unnoticed!

        1 vote
        1. nic Link Parent
          Even with software, filing US taxes is a nightmare.

          Even with software, filing US taxes is a nightmare.

    2. maccam912 Link Parent
      Other countries get it exactly right? I have only done about 10 years of taxes, but myself and from talking to others it seems a refund is usually just a given. We can have a number of exemptions...

      Other countries get it exactly right? I have only done about 10 years of taxes, but myself and from talking to others it seems a refund is usually just a given. We can have a number of exemptions which adjust how much we get taken out of a paycheck vs in a refund, and I think most people err on the side of having more taken so they don't end up oweing more instead, but that still happens to some. Either way, I've never heard of someone ending up exactly even and not needing some adjustment after filing.

      4 votes
  6. [5]
    nichos Link
    Slightly off topic, but it's weird these are called refunds. It's really change from over-paying all year long.

    Slightly off topic, but it's weird these are called refunds. It's really change from over-paying all year long.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      Well they're "refunding" you the money that you overpaid... so "refund" isn't that weird when looking for a one-word description of what's occurring. What's the alternative?

      Well they're "refunding" you the money that you overpaid... so "refund" isn't that weird when looking for a one-word description of what's occurring. What's the alternative?

      4 votes
      1. Deimos Link Parent
        The wording of their comment was a little confusing, but they were suggesting that calling it "change" would be more accurate. If you give someone $20 when you were supposed to pay $15, the $5 you...

        The wording of their comment was a little confusing, but they were suggesting that calling it "change" would be more accurate. If you give someone $20 when you were supposed to pay $15, the $5 you get back would generally be called "change", and it's very similar to that.

        6 votes
      2. JXM Link Parent
        Return? But that doesn't work because the whole package you sent back is your tax return...

        Return?

        But that doesn't work because the whole package you sent back is your tax return...

        1 vote
    2. alphamule Link Parent
      It's the government finally paying back the zero-interest loan they've been borrowing from you all year long. This year, they took a smaller loan from many people, but forgot to make them aware of...

      It's the government finally paying back the zero-interest loan they've been borrowing from you all year long. This year, they took a smaller loan from many people, but forgot to make them aware of this, so now they're angry the government doesn't have as much loan to pay back.

      1 vote