Average tax refunds down 8.4 percent as angry taxpayers vent on Twitter

Average tax refunds were down last week 8.4 percent for the first week of the tax season over the same time last year, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Dipping refunds are inflaming a growing army of taxpayers stunned by the consequences of the Trump administration’s tax law — and the effects of the partial government shutdown.

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.

Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.

“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.

The number of refunds sent out by the IRS was also down — about 24 percent — as the agency struggled to get up to speed after the government shutdown. The agency sent out about 4.67 million tax refunds in the week ending Feb. 1, compared with about 6.17 million in the same period in 2018, according to IRS data.

This year’s filing season, which began two days after the shutdown ended on Jan. 25, is complicated because it’s the first after the 2017 tax law was enacted. Though President Donald Trump boasted that the new code would be so simplified that people could file their taxes on a postcard, that’s not the case. 

In addition, the changes complicated payroll withholding, so that not enough money was withheld by employers in many cases, meaning that people now owe more taxes. The new law also capped IRS deductions for paid state and local taxes, including real estate taxes, resulting in a nasty surprise for many filers. Several other deductions are no longer allowed.

The frustrations will likely continue to fuel support for plans to boost taxes on the ultra-wealthy. A poll last month found that nearly 60 percent of registered voters support a plan by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to impose a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the portion of annual income that exceeds $10 million a year.

Twitter is filling up with complaints from people whose situation has changed radically.

Hispanic unemployment at historic low, thanks to this

Great news: Hispanic employment is booming.

According to the latest job numbers, Hispanic unemployment continues to remain at one of its lowest rates in nearly half a century. The report also showed a near-record high of 27.6 million Hispanics employed and participating in the workforce in January 2019. Just a few months ago, the Census Bureau announced that the median income for Hispanic households grew by 3.7 percent in real terms from 2016 to 2017.

These historic numbers didn’t happen by accident. They are the result of tax and regulatory policies that have increased economic opportunity for all.

The most significant policy change occurred in December 2017 when President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which drove record optimism among small business owners and paved the way for significant investments to expand facilities, boost productivity, and increase hiring and wages. A joint study by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury estimated that 9 out of 10Americans saw an increase in their take-home pay as a result of tax relief.

Thanks to the growing economy, more and more Hispanics are able to save, spend, and invest as they see fit, including purchasing a homeand opening up a business.

But to truly appreciate how well things are going for the Hispanic community, it’s critical to look back at the years following the 2008 economic crisis.

The Pew Research Center found that Hispanics were the hardest-hit ethnic and racial group during the Great Recession, with the median wealth of Hispanic households falling by 66 percent from 2005 to 2009. Not surprisingly, the Hispanic unemployment rate hovered around double digits for much of that time, peaking at 13 percent in August 2009.

While there’s been a remarkable turnaround from those grim days, there are warning signs we should heed.

The imposition of tariffs on our biggest trading partners threatens to derail the gains we’ve made. Last September, Washington slapped duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China followed by announcing trade tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. The U.S. has also imposed tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Tariffs amount to new taxes that cost American companies billions while raising the costs for everyday goods and services to American consumers. In short, tariffs make us poorer.

In some places, particularly those with a large number of Hispanic residents, trade is vital to the local economy. In Texas, where 35 percentof the workforce is Hispanic, trade activities employ nearly 3 million Texas workers.

Additionally, some in Congress are also proposing to raise taxes in order to pay for trillions in new government spending. They also have their sights set on imposing additional regulations and mandates on businesses and entrepreneurs. Years of research tells us that unchecked government spending, onerous regulations, and higher taxes are a recipe for less economic opportunity.

Many Hispanics, including first-generation immigrants, know first-hand the debilitating effects of such policies. In far too many countries in Latin America, protectionism, high taxes, and punishing government regulations have made it impossible for many to get ahead. It’s why so many left everything and everyone behind to immigrate to the U.S. in search of prosperity and opportunity.

As the most recent job numbers confirm, the U.S. Hispanic community is thriving thanks to our growing economy. Of course, there is even more that can be done to ensure that more Hispanics are able to live out the American dream. Let’s not raise taxes and grow the size of government, but instead double down on pro-growth economic policies that have been serving our community well.


Trump turns on Fox News: ‘Even less understanding... than fake news CNN & NBC’

Image result for john roberts fox news

President Donald Trump lashed out at his favorite network on Sunday, accusing two Fox News journalists of having “less understanding” of his proposed border wall than the “fake news” at his usual media targets, CNN and NBC. 

Trump specifically called out the network’s chief White House correspondent John Roberts and Washington correspondent Gillian Turner:

Roberts subbed for Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” and Turner was part of a discussion on the show. 

Slideshow preview image
President Trump
visits border wall prototypes amid protests

The numbers in Trump’s tweet refer to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll earlier this month, which found 50 percent of Latino adults approve of his job as president, a 19 percent jump since December, The Hill reported. 

Barbara Carvalho, the director of the poll, told PBS that it was not a poll of Latinos but a small part of a much larger poll. If isolated, that portion of the poll would have a 9.9-point margin of error. 

We’re really not looking to draw conclusions about what smaller subgroups within the population feel,” Carvalho said.

The larger finding of the poll was a 39 percent approval rating for Trump overall, down from 42 percent in December, versus 53 percent who disapprove, which is up from 49 percent last month. In addition, just 30 percent of Americans said they would definitely vote for Trump in 2020, versus 57 percent who would definitely vote against him. 



Page 1 of 2


The Opinion Poll


National Weather

Click on map for forecast