As Americans begin filing their 2018 tax returns, many have been surprised to learn that their refund is lower than in previous years or, in some cases, that they are required to pay the IRS.
According to a report from the Internal Revenue Service, refunds have dipped an average 8 percent, or $170, for returns filed through Feb. 1. Approximately 24 percent of those who have filed for 2018 did not receive a refund compared to tax returns for 2017.
However, an IRS spokesman told the Washington Post that the early data only reflects returns processed from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 and that the 35-day government shutdown had delayed some returns.
Regardless, some Americans have taken to social media to express their frustration and displeasure, tweeting President Donald Trump, the White House, state representatives, senators and the GOP. Others used the hashtag #GOPTaxScam to broadcast their complaints.
During a Sunday afternoon segment on MSNBC, anchor Kendis Gibson posed a question to panelists gathered to discuss the tax cut signed into law in December 2017 and the reaction from some Americans.
"You've seen some of the comments people are mentioning online about this," Gibson said. "There are legitimate Trump voters who are feeling cheated."
“Which is amazing because we’ve been telling them they’ve been cheated this entire time," SiriusXM radio host Danielle Modie-Mills said. "And we told them that that tax bill was only going to help the 1 percent. And everybody else you may see a few bucks back, but now you are not even going to see that. So, yes, these people have been cheated, and we’ve known that for a long time. So I’m so glad they’re waking up to that new reality.”
Gibson followed Modie-Mills comments by reading off a tweet from a Trump voter who said he would not vote for the president in 2020 due to his tax return.
“Donald Trump would never lie about anybody’s taxes. How dare you,” MSNBC political analyst Rick Tyler said as the other panelists laughed. “Look, people can defend the actual tax cuts that got passed, and I could defend elements of it, but don’t sell it as a middle-class tax cut when it's not, cause it wasn't. Now people are finding out."
Above The Law editor Elie Mystal, another panelist, noted that the reaction from some Republicans was "schadenfreude."
“It’s wonderful to watch these Trump voters learn,” Mystal said. “Now we are going to get to test a theory I’ve had. My theory has been, they voted for Trump because they’re racist and because they're sexist. Their theory is: ‘No. we had economic grievances.’ Now we get to see who was right. So, if they had economic grievances, this is a great time for them not to vote for Trump again. If they had these other grievances, then they’ll be part of the 37 percent once again.”
The Government Accountability Office said last summer that the number of refunds issued for 2018 returns would likely drop while the number of individuals who owed money would increase. The IRS estimated that 4.6 million who had not previously owed money would have to pay in, the Post reports.
“It totally feels like a scam,” John Prugh, a bookstore manager in New Jersey, told the Post. “I did still get a small refund, but compared to what I was expecting from previous years, it was a shock.” Prugh said he did not vote for Trump.
Average tax refunds in the United States per year. STATISTA