Among the news highlights that have popped up recently, tax reform has dominated the public discourse. Specifically, the government has paid out fewer tax refunds in the first week of eligibility compared to the year prior. Naturally (and sadly), people have lashed out at the Trump administration, blaming his reforms.
According to the IRS, the average tax refund slipped 8.4% in that first eligible week against the same period one year ago. The HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss seemingly implies that this supports the thesis that Trump’s tax reform policies have damaged American families. Papenfuss writes:
The average refund check paid out so far has been $1,865, down from $2,035 at the same point in 2018, according to IRS data. Low-income taxpayers often file early to pocket the money as soon as possible. Many taxpayers count on the refunds to make important payments, or spend the money on things like home repairs, a vacation or a car.
The IRS had estimated it would issue about 2.3 percent fewer refunds this year as a result of the changes in the federal tax law, according to Bloomberg. MSNBC reports that 30 million Americans will owe the IRS money this year — 3 million more than before Trump’s tax law.
“There are going to be a lot of unhappy people over the next month,” Edward Karl of the American Institute of CPAs told Politico. “Taxpayers want a large refund.” Some 71 percent of taxpayers received refunds last year worth about $3,000 on average, according to Karl.
Scads of taxpayers are complaining on Twitter that they have always received a refund — but now owe the IRS instead.
Has President Trump lost the plot? Or is something else driving the complaints about tax refunds?
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Many Foolishly Use Tax Refunds as a Political Weapon
Before I begin, I want to point out that not all Americans have arrogantly and foolishly attacked the President. While I understand that tax refunds – or any tax-related issue – generate controversies occasionally, we must address root causes. Doing so helps to frame the matter in a clear and objective light.
First, the current controversy over tax refunds has nothing to do with Trump’s much-hyped tax reforms. Rather, this is a withholding issue. Every year, Americans elect how much their employers withhold their income for tax purposes. Withhold too much and you typically receive a massive refund. Withhold too little and you’re likely owing Uncle Sam.
Recent tax changes have impacted the withdrawal process. As expected, taxpayers were stunned when they ended up receiving a small refund (or owed money). However, they weren’t complaining when they received more money every paycheck! Since worker-bees know exactly how much money is coming in, they should have questioned why their checks were larger.
They didn’t. So I can’t say that I feel sorry for the disappointed when they failed basic due diligence.
Second, Trump is actually doing the American people a favor. Contrary to simpleton wisdom, tax refunds don’t represent income. Instead, they are interest-free loans to the government. Uncle Sam is merely giving you back your own money, and you celebrate as if it’s a windfall!
This is one of the key reasons why the rich keep getting richer: they advantage the laws to their benefit, not to the government’s. As a businessman, Trump has an entrepreneurial mindset. Sadly, the populace is too ingrained in their ways to appreciate it.
BY JOSHUA ENOMOTO
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