Thanks to Republican accounting trickery, millions of Americans are losing out on refunds or getting stuck with tax bills they didn't expect.
As Tax Day approaches, millions of Americans are expected to see smaller tax refunds this year — and many will owe taxes they didn't expect to owe — thanks to changes in the tax code Republicans rammed through Congress in late 2017.
"It totally feels like a scam," John Prugh, a manager at a New Jersey bookstore, told the Washington Post. Prugh just found out his refund was $3,000 less than he anticipated, even though he and his wife have had the same jobs for years.
"I did still get a small refund, but compared to what I was expecting from previous years, it was shock," he added.
Prugh is not alone, the Post notes. According to an IRS estimate from last summer, the GOP tax scam means 4.6 million fewer families will receive a refund this year — and an additional 4.6 million filers will owe money to the IRS who haven't in previous years.
"As Tax Day approaches and people start filing their returns, it should come as no surprise that the GOP's tax scam isn't delivering on Republicans' promises," Ryan Thomas, spokesperson for Tax March, told Shareblue Media. "The American people are now seeing firsthand that this tax law was written by and for the wealthiest, not for working and middle-class families."
Jason Marques, a postal worker and pizza delivery driver in Massachusetts, told NBC News that he was expecting a refund of about $6,000, the same amount he got last year. But this year, he found out he would receive less than $500 total.
"My jaw hit the floor," Marques said. He had planned on paying off credit card debt, and possibly student loans, with the refund. Now he can't do any of that.
"It looks like it was a bunch of gimmicking," Marques said of the changes to the tax code. "I didn't know how badly it was actually going to hurt."
There's a reason that the smaller refunds are coming as such a nasty shock to so many Americans. The GOP tax scam Trump signed into law in December 2017 changed withholding levels to make it seem like many people were getting bigger tax cuts than they really were.
Now, the bill is coming due — and most Americans had no way of knowing the price they were paying.
Some workers may have seen a change in their take-home pay, but NBC reports the amount could have been so small that people didn't even notice. For example, former Speaker Paul Ryan embarrassed himself when he bragged about a woman who received an additional $1.50 per week in her paycheck.
While Republicans told middle-class workers to be grateful for six quarters, their tax scam lavished billions of dollars upon Wall Street billionaires. More than 80 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1 percent, while corporate banks raked in record-breaking profits.
According to IRS data, tax refunds average about 8.4 percent less this year compared to last year. One accountant in New York City told NBC News that she anticipates about two-thirds of her clients will pay more in taxes than they thought they would.
From coast to coast, the tax scam is hitting families hard.
"The Republican tax bill handcuffed Orange County families with higher taxes to give a handout to special interests — we should be returning money to working families' pockets, not giving tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations in America," Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) said in a statement to Shareblue Media.
Porter, one of many freshman Democrats in the House, ousted a Republican incumbent who enthusiastically supported the tax scam.
"It was a scam then, it's a scam now," Rep. Primila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, recently said of the GOP tax bill.
The GOP tax scam was already unpopular when it passed Congress without a single Democratic vote. If Americans were skeptical then before seeing the harmful effects firsthand, they are likely to be furious now.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.