trpmb6 wrote:Jetero, you are assuming that the withholding formula year over year had a proportional change such that refunds would be nearly identical year over year despite the voluminous overhaul of the tax code. That's almost impossible. The IRS is good but not *that* good. They adjusted the withholding formula/tables (in my estimation) to some best fit curves based on numerous studies of the typical household in each bracket with various exemption declarations. Probably ran samples of thousands of examples to develop the formula based on their interpretation of the changed law and prior experience.
Short of having someone from the IRS come here and tell us exactly how they developed it, what factors they used and why, we won't really know. But as far as I'm concerned it is entirely possible that the changes in the withholding formulas could account for people receiving a smaller refund year over year, yet still paying less taxes year over year on the same income.
OK, TRP, it's confirmed. You really just don't know what you're talking about.
But if it's easier for you to think that the IRS used "best fit curves" to calculate very simple withholding formulas based on filing status, tax brackets, and the number of deductions and exemptions claimed (not quite sure why you need to talk to someone from the IRS on that . . . it's very simple to see if you review them . . . absolute same idea as behind the tax tables in the 1040 instruction booklet) rather than entertain the idea that for some taxpayers (1) the tax cut was meaningless; or (2) they ended up paying a higher tax liability, well then OK. (Don't forget we've known that this would be the case since December 2017 . . . see https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xyq ... ps-tax-cut.)
For the umpteenth time, other things equal, the only way not updating withholding tables would generate such situation is in the case that people (1) who itemized before and adjusted their W-4 for lower withholding; (2) now take the much higher standard deduction; and (3) didn't go through the process to update their W-4 again. They should have had higher take home pay and now a tax liability. Again, I'm not saying that didn't happen, in fact I'm saying it most certainly did happen, but in that case we're talking about people who were smart enough to do their W-4 to begin with and didn't update it. I have no idea what percentage of the population that'd be, but I assume it'd be in the single digits.