Why many Vermonters are disappointed in their tax refunds

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Unless you filed for an extension, your tax returns are due at midnight. And some tax professionals in our area say many of their clients were disappointed this tax season. Our Dom Amato found out why.

"We've got some winners and we've got some losers," said Steve Trenholm, a certified public accountant at Gallagher, Flynn & Co.

After 2018 tax law changes, 80 percent of American taxpayers are expected to pay less in income taxes overall.

But the new tax law also changed the way the government collects taxes. And for many in our region, that means a smaller federal refund, no refund or more money owed to the government.

"I was one of the losers," Trenholm said. "It did cost me more money."

Trenholm says changes in itemized deductions and the withholding tables led to some surprises for some W-2 employees.

"A lot of people that itemized, especially with like medical expenses, some of the elderly were hurt by that," Trenholm said.

Many taxpayers who typically overpaid the government and saw refunds have seen less deducted from their paychecks each week.

"It was spread out over the whole year and so an extra $5 in your paycheck, in your take-home pay-- it evaporates; you don't notice it," said Colleen Montgomery, a CPA at Montgomery and Granai.

Montgomery says many of her clients were surprised to see they owed money. But Montgomery says some of her higher income clients saw bigger refunds than expected. Small business owners and those with high income from rental properties also may have seen a larger payout.

"We did not update our withholding tables which means refunds in Vermont are slightly higher this year," Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samson said.

Samsom says Vermonters are seeing an average of $70 more in their state refunds. In 2018, the average refund was $460. This year so far, the average state refund is $532.