CPA says your tax money is not missing, it may have been overlooked

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The 2019 tax season is off to a slow start. Fewer people have filed and the average refund is down about 8.4 percent, according to information released by the Internal Revenue Service.

"I just did it about two days ago," said Cusheena Brown. "It was not as much as a deduction as it used to be. Paying student loans, you usually get deductions and those were not there this year. So, it took a big chunk."

The IRS said fewer taxpayers were getting federal refunds and some of those who did get one may find it is smaller than in the past, on average about $170 less than the 2017 taxes in 2018.

The new tax code has some people searching for their refund, but one Certified Public Accountant said the money may not be not be missing, but was perhaps overlooked.

"This year we had a lot of tax changes," said Tallahassee-based CPA Frank Rong. "Due to the tax cut last year, the withholding that everybody paid into during the year actually went down. So, kind of like you were already getting a refund early."

A lower refund does not necessarily mean you are paying higher taxes. In fact, the IRS said 2/3 of taxpayers are likely to pay less tax this year than the year before, but many of them have already gotten those dollars in their paychecks because of the withholding change and most likely just did not notice it.

For some, the news came as a shock.

"If it's going to be, then it's going to be a little bit of a surprise to me," said Adam Carvin of Thomasville.

Carvin said he had not filed for 2018 yet and usually waits until the last minute. For others, the news is not as much of a shock.

"It came as a surprise, but not too much of a surprise," said Brown. "I would have hoped that everything would have stayed the same from previous years, but what can we do?"

There is little that can be done to change things now. However, to avoid the issue next year, experts said you should talk with your employer and change your withholdings.