Average tax refunds fall, creating political flashpoint

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This Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Zelienople, Pa., shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. The government says that the average tax refund and the total amount of refunds issued have declined for the second straight week. The declines have become a […]

WASHINGTON (AP) – The average tax refund and the total amount of refunds issued declined for the second straight week, potentially intensifying a political flashpoint seized by Democrats as proof that the Republican-written tax law hurts the middle class.

The average refund in the second week of the filing season ended Feb. 8 was $1,949, down 8.7 percent from $2,135 a year earlier, according to IRS data released Thursday.

Total refunds to date are down 23 percent to $22.2 billion, from $28.9 billion last year.

The decline may be largely due to how some employees and employers had adjusted the amounts withheld from paychecks to account for changes under the new tax law. Most taxpayers received a tax cut under the law but some may have had too little withheld, resulting in a smaller-than-expected refund, or even money owed to the government.

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