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By Mark Saviet
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? 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. Everyone who did not update their W-4 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 could be held until mid-February as a result of a 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 go to hrblock.com/refundadvance.
Mark Saviet is a senior tax analyst for H&R Block, the world’s largest tax services provider. Mark has been providing expert tax advice and preparation support for taxpayers in the Boston area for the past 20 tax seasons.