Kansans surprised by low tax returns

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"If you have families, children, you're probably going to be okay.  Someone without dependents might get a little bit less," said Susan Chacon, an accountant at H&R Block in Wichita.

Kansans are experiencing surprise and confusion as taxpayers realize refunds won't be as big this year.   The IRS says the average refund is down about  8% under the first full year of the overhauled tax code. 

Kansans who get their taxes done by an accountant likely got warnings of these changes last year.  Those who do their own taxes are the ones most likely to be surprised by how these changes are hitting them.

Accountants say it's all a case of do you want your money now, or later.

"My husband takes care of all of that. so I just bring the W-2 to him," Mischele Anderson said.  She's meeting her husband at H&R Block to make some changes to their tax returns this year.

For many Kansans getting the taxes done is a chore they don't like to think too much about until they absolutely have to.  But they also tend to count on getting that tax return to celebrate once the chore is done.

"Just, you know, extra stuff for the kids," said Mischele.  "We just spend it on the kids."

Mischele hasn't noticed a big change in her taxes, yet, this year.  But other Kansans have.  Accountants like Susan Chacon say they warned customers this change was coming.

"We talked with our clients last year about, you know, your refund will be less unless you go in and change your withholdings," Chacon said.

When tax rates went down, she said, the amount your company took out of your check went down, too.  That meant, if you didn't increase your withholdings, you likely saw more money each paycheck, meaning a smaller tax return come tax time.

"Do you want to adjust that to have less taken out or more taken out throughout the year?  That will affect your bottom line when you come in and do your taxes," Chacon said.

Now or later, it's a personal choice.  You can change your deductions any time.  Just contact your company's human resources department.
Mischele says she'd rather get her money now.

"It's just right then.  It's easier than waiting an entire year for it.  So, if it's coming out a little bit, maybe the kids can do a little bit extra," she explained.