Tackling Taxes: Answering your questions for the 2019 season

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — You may have seen recent reports about the new tax laws affecting refunds.

Some say the average refund is down, while others say it’s up. We’re on your side, taking your questions to experts to help clear up the confusion.

10 on Your Side spoke with David Seeley, a certified public accountant and tax director with Beth Moore and Associates in Newport News, and Diane Carter, also a certified public accountant with Beth Moore and Associates. 

Seeley and Carter say this is the first time the tax code has changed since 1986, so some confusion is understandable.  

Some of the changes are eliminated personal exemptions and new caps on itemized deductions.  The changes make it tricky for people to determine what they should withhold.

“One of the biggest changes is the standard deduction was raised quite a bit,  so now single people have $12,000 and married filing jointly would be $24,000,” said Carter.  “So a lot of people have lost their ability to itemize becuase the standard is so high, it gives them a better benefit actually.”

Experts say a mistake in withholding could be the reason your refund is different than what you expect — or why you owe money.

“It goes back to the withholding tables.  If those are not correct then you could have not withheld enough during the year.  The other is if you are required to pay estimated taxes for any reason.  Then the other is just the change in the tax code.  This year the child tax credits are up to $2,000 which makes it a little bit easier for couples that have kids, but for other individuals it may not be as beneficial, the new tax laws,” said Seeley.

They say the IRS should issue refunds within 21 days.  If you’ve been waiting for a refund for longer than 21 days, either call the IRS or go online.

Virginia conforms to federal income tax laws. With the new federal law, things on the state level will change — that includes fixed date conformity.

Seeley said, “As of today, the state has said that they are caught up, so the refunds should start coming out.  One of the big things with the state, too, is that in October, they’re going to be sending out checks to all of the taxpayers.  It’s going to be $110 for an individual and $220 for a married couple and that’s, they required that the returns are filed by July first.” 

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