Readers React: Surprised by a lower tax refund? That’s your fault, not Trump’s

A portion of the 1040 income tax return form for 2018.
A portion of the 1040 income tax return form for 2018.
(Mark Lennihan / AP)

To the editor: Obviously, what counts is the effective tax rate paid before and after the law took effect, not what refund is received. (“Shrinking tax refunds are a growing problem for GOP tax law,” Feb. 25)

It seems to me that the L.A. Times provides its rationale for focusing on returns in this article by quoting an economist from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who said that if people judge the tax law by “the refund and not the total tax you pay — and the refund is lower than what you got last year — it stands to reason you’re going to be unhappy.”

Buried inside the article is what an expert at the Tax Institute at H&R Block said: “Most people are going to come out ahead overall.”

As for the San Jose couple unpleasantly surprised by the taxes they owe this year, whatever happened to personal responsibility? They live in a home worth about $1.4 million, earn $220,000 per year, live in California and evidently didn’t pay any attention to the new tax law’s impact on them. Whose fault is that?


Terry Cavicchi, Thousand Oaks


To the editor: The issue of tax refunds can be put alongside budgeting and credit-card usage when it comes to financial literacy.

High schools need to require that all students take a class on financial literacy. This should not be an elective, but rather a part of the required senior economics course.

Students should practice how to read a pay stub, how to read a W-2, and how to prepare a simple tax return. They would then conclude that a larger refund simply means that the government earned more interest off their money.

It is sad that we Americans cannot regularly manage our own savings and thus budget for those expenditures that often get paid with a refund check.

Judith M. Seki, San Gabriel

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