By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of Minnesotans may be shocked when they fill out their taxes this year.

Despite that massive tax cut last year, what you get — or what you pay — may be a lot different than you think.

You heard it right from the top. President Donald Trump made this statement last year: “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas. And when I say giant, I mean giant.”

Politicians even campaigned on it. But many of us are like Michael, who emailed “Reality Check” at WCCO-TV to say he’s getting less than half of the refund he normally gets.

Michael’s frustration is clear:

Where is my tax break we where promised? I have purposely withheld extra$$ for many years so I get a decent refund.. this year I’m getting less than 1/2 compared to last year and several other years going back. Exactly where is my tax reduction Mr Trump?😡😠 I made a whopping $500.00 more in 2018 than 2017, (take home) and yet because of taxx exclusions, I will be getting nearly $3000.00 less back as a tax refund. Every aspect of the cost of living is going up and because of the new tax laws my income is going down.

But the truth is that most of us did see a tax reduction. The richer you are, the more you got.

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates 80.4 percent of taxpayers got a tax cut. But most of us forgot to do something very important last year after the tax bill adjusted the individual tax rates: We did not change the amount of taxes withheld from our take-home pay.

H&R Block reports eight out of 10 taxpayers did not change their W-4s. That’s not only affecting your refund, many are actually paying more in taxes.

On top of that, high-tax states like Minnesota got a double-tax-whammy! There’s a limit on deducting state and local taxes you can deduct, and a cap on home mortgage interest.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s very early, but the IRS reports the average refund is down 8.4 percent — about $170 less this year, than last year. And for some taxpayers, it’s a lot less than that.

Meanwhile, the tax cut and increased spending just helped push the national debt to a new high. It hit $22 trillion this week.

In 2016, then-candidate Trump said he could eliminate the national debt “over a period of eight years.”

Here Are Some Of The Sources We Used For This Reality Check:

IRS: Filing Season Stats Week Ending Feb 1

IRS Notice 1036

Tax Policy Center: Who Got The Tax Cut?

Gallup Poll: Tax Bill Approval/Disapproval

CNBC: The Tax Mistake Most People Made

Pat Kessler

Comments (5)
  1. Zachary Dehn says:

    Where is my tax break we where promised? I have purposely withheld extra$$ for many years so I get a decent refund.

    Well first of all this guy is an idiot whoever uses taxes as a “savings” is not smart. Why would you give the government a interest free loan. He should have not withheld extra money and invested his money himself. It should be every ones goal to get as close to zero back at the end of the year as you can.

    Secondly they have been taking less out of your check to begin with. Remember awhile ago you may have noticed you were receiving more take home per week than you did before?
    If you look at the tax brackets the lower incomes have been knocked down and the higher incomes have been raised a bit. Example if you made 75k last year it was in the 15% this year you would be in the 12% bracket

    Last did anyone notice that the standard deduction for married went from 12k to 24k?

    10% 0 to $19,050 10% 0 to $18,650
    12% $19,050 to $77,400 15% $18,650 to $75,900
    22% $77,400 to $165,000 25% $75,900 to $153,100
    24% $165,000 to $315,000 28% $153,100 to $233,350
    32% $315,000 to $400,000 33% $233,350 to $416,700
    35% $400,000 to $600,000 35% $416,700 to $470,700

  2. If you look at wage growth for the bottom decile, the bottom 10 percent of Americans, it’s right now the highest on record going all the way back to 2000. MAGA!

  3. Chris Blauvelt says:

    I’m disappointed, Pat! You should have more clearly stated that a refund (or underpayment) tracks the amount withheld, and has nothing to do with how much tax is paid. It’s in there, but you buried it, emphasized the decline in refund size, and then closed with the national debt comments that really aren’t germane. The story is that even though people are likely paying less in taxes, they are getting smaller refunds because they didn’t realize they needed to adjust their withholding. More facts, less spin! I’ve always looked to you for that.
    I look forward to your maybe doing a story about the Green New Deal, explaining the differences between legislation and non-binding resolutions. Very confusing to hear people arguing about putting a bill to a vote.

  4. I to am disappointed in this article and it’s reasoning. The tax cut is a fact and millions of Americans saw it in their paychecks. The refund is based on taxes withheld, but this article and others like it try to tie in the tax cut with refunds. And why mention the national dept? I get it that it’s related, but that paragraph actually proves that Americans have more money in their pockets and the government has less.

    1. This Reality Check needs a Reality Check.

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