Michelle is the founder and owner of STL Bookkeeping & Tax (formerly MRW Accounting Solutions) in St. Louis, MO. She has a BS in Accounting and 10+ years of business experience in and around the STL area.
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Why is my refund less than last year?
At this point, a lot of people in St. Louis have begun to receive their tax refunds and are comparing refunds with their friends, families, and co-workers. The first thing I want to say is, you CAN NOT compare your tax refund/bill to anyone else unless you have the EXACT SAME dependents, income, filing status, state taxes, dependent care, etc. Seeing as how that is extremely unlikely, the point is: do not compare!
That being said, if you got a smaller or larger refund this year, you may not totally understand why. One thing that people may not be fully understanding is the tax tables changed last year for the first time since the early 80's along with the largest tax overhaul in decades. These two changes at the same time can leave anyone confused! When the tax tables changed, if you claimed 1 (one) on your W4 for as long as you've been a working person, claiming 1 no longer meant the same withholding in 2018. For a quick example, for every $1,000 you made in 2017, you had $100 withheld in taxes. In 2018, for every $1,000 you made, still claiming 1, only $90.00 was withheld. (these figures are all made up for explanation purposes, and should not be used to make any tax decisions) Because of this, you saw extra money on each check (on average $20-$50), but that now means that your refund is smaller. It is important to note, that may not mean your total tax BILL (the total amount of taxes you paid in 2018) was larger. If you're not sure what you paid in total taxes in 2017 as compared to 2018, this would be a great question for your tax professional to see if the new tax plan actually helped or hurt you from a tax perspective. Your refund amount is not necessarily a good indicator of the big picture.
If you don't have a tax preparer/planner in the St. Louis or St. Charles area, I would love the opportunity to look over your taxes for you and let you know where you stand. I may even find deductions that you missed when preparing taxes yourself! Please call or text me, Michelle Walsh at 314-450-1140 and I'd be happy to take a look for you. If I find an opportunity for larger tax savings, we can set up a time for you to come in and amend the return you filed.
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