Answers to worries about tax reform, refund size and refund delays

January 23, 2019 : Annelise Wiens

Ready or not, tax season is here and this year is going to present unique challenges. From tax reform to refund delays and big swings in refund size, it’s going to take some work for people to untangle their tax situations. The good news is that H&R Block is ready to help and has been preparing since the moment tax reform passed.

Tax reform impacts everyone

Tax reform impacts everyone differently, depending entirely on their specific circumstances. It’s important for people to look at their unique situation to see what they should expect when they file. Tax reform impacts virtually everyone with new tax brackets and tax rates, but other changes especially impact families, homeowners, and the self-employed.

Tax reform and withholding changes could mean swings in refund size

While most people will come out ahead overall, it won’t feel that way for the people who will get a smaller tax refund, or will end up owing, because they got their tax reform benefit through bigger paychecks. The potential for surprises comes from updated IRS tables employers use to calculate tax withheld from an employee’s paycheck. These changes generally resulted in bigger paychecks and less tax withheld starting in February or March, even if they took no action.

Anyone who updated their withholding with their employer after the IRS made its adjustments in February can expect the withholding outcome they planned for when completing their W-4. It is everyone who did not update their W-4 who is most at risk of significant changes to their refund or balance due.

For those who don’t like what happened with their refund this year, they can make sure it doesn’t happen again next year by updating their withholding with their employer. H&R Block tax professionals will provide W-4 planning for clients when they file their 2018 tax return.

Some refunds also held until mid-February due to government-mandated delay

The IRS is required to hold refunds for returns claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC) and additional child tax credit (ACTC) until mid-February. Approximately 30 million taxpayers claim the EITC or ACTC, with half filing early, which means as many as 15 million taxpayers could have their refunds delayed until mid-February.

For taxpayers who want access to money faster than the IRS can provide a tax refund, H&R Block is offering the Refund Advance loan* of up to $3,000. The Refund Advance, a no-interest loan from Axos Bank™ is repaid from the client’s federal or state income tax refunds. If approved, clients will typically have access to money within hours of applying.

For more details about the Refund Advance or to schedule a tax appointment, taxpayers can visit hrblock.com/refundadvance.

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Annelise Wiens

Annelise Wiens

Editor and Producer

As the newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens is interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.

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