Monday, February 11, 2019

The Trump Tax Time Tango

Millions of Americans are finding out the hard way doing their taxes this month that Trump's "middle-class tax cut" was a screw job, and that average Americans are footing the bill for massive tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds.

People have already taken to social media, using the hashtag #GOPTaxScam, to vent their anger. Many blame President Trump and the Republicans for shrinking refunds. Some on Twitter even said they wouldn’t vote for Trump again after seeing their refunds slashed.

The uproar follows the passage of a major overhaul to the tax code in December 2017, which was enacted with only Republican votes and is considered the biggest legislative achievement of Trump’s first year. While the vast majority of Americans received a tax cut in 2018, refunds are a different matter. Some refunds have decreased because of changes in the law, such as a new limit on property and local income tax deductions, and some have decreased because of how the IRS has altered withholding in paychecks.

John Prugh of Ewing Township, N.J., was irate when he completed his 2018 tax return this month and discovered his refund would be $3,000 less than what he received last year. Prugh considers himself “solidly middle class.”

The 39-year-old is a manager at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and his wife works for the state government. They have two children. Prugh said he had no reason to believe their tax situation would change this year because he and his wife have lived in the same house for years while their incomes have remained stable.

“It totally feels like a scam,” said Prugh, who did not vote for Trump. “I did still get a small refund, but compared to what I was expecting from previous years, it was shock.”

The average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year compared to last, the IRS reported Friday, and the number of people receiving a refund so far has dropped by almost a quarter.

And as the tax provisions in the 2017 GOP Tax Scam bill fade, the tax burden is only going to increase dramatically in the coming years on middle-class Americans, particularly homeowners who are used to deducting their state taxes from their federal taxes.

Of course, Democrats warned Americans that this was exactly what was going to happen back in 2017, and Republicans passed it anyway.  I sure hope voters remember directly who screwed them over when it comes to going to the polls in November 2020.

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