Will Tax Refunds Be Lower In 2023? Unpacking This Viral Internet Claim


The web is up in arms once more — this time over upcoming tax refunds. One fast peek on the #RefundShock2022 hashtag, and you will get the impression that doing taxes this yr is extra annoying than ever. However are tax refunds actually decrease in 2023? When you’re anxious that this shall be your first yr ever owing money for taxes or that doing all your 2022 taxes will by some means result in monetary smash, take a deep breath. The fact might not be as surprising as you suppose.

Regardless of #RefundShock2022 garnering greater than 12 million views so far on TikTok, it is value noting that not everyone seems to be heeding the warning. In response to a latest Credit Karma survey, 29% of People anticipate a better tax refund this yr. They want it, too. Regardless of a surprising rise in inflation (and the value of actually every little thing) in 2022, greater than two-thirds (68%) of People stated their monetary scenario didn’t enhance or stayed the identical.

In different phrases, the price of dwelling is dearer, however pay is not rising to maintain up. Credit score Karma’s survey additionally revealed 24% of People will depend on their tax refunds for requirements and to easily survive the yr.

Will 2022 tax refunds be smaller?

Unhealthy information: Even the IRS has warned taxpayers to not anticipate big refunds. A number of vital rule adjustments and tax credit score cuts might make People upset of their refunds.

Good-ish information: That warning would possibly boil down to easily managing expectations after the bounty that got here with 2021’s tax refund season. Because of these 2021 Child Tax Credit bumps throughout COVID, many households acquired used to the additional, much-needed money. Nevertheless, for those who had dependents earlier than COVID, you need to know precisely what to anticipate from this yr’s returns.

Why will 2022 tax refunds be smaller than 2021?

“This yr, some People could also be shocked by how a lot decrease their tax refunds are,” says Courtney Alev, shopper monetary advocate at Credit score Karma. “Pandemic aid measures had been delivered by means of tax breaks and little one tax credit. They’re now expiring and returning to earlier ranges, which implies that for those who benefitted from these measures final yr, you may be impacted this tax season.”

Principally, the actual crux of the 2022 tax refund “shock” boils right down to “cuts” made to the kid tax credit score. These cuts are merely the impact of the expiration of the 2021 little one tax credit supplied to folks as a part of the COVID aid plan. For fogeys who loved these additional month-to-month funds in 2021, their refund most likely seemed the identical because it did in 2020 or 2019 (give or take the addition of youngsters, adjustments in ages, and adjustments in guardian revenue, after all). However for those who opted out of the funds, your 2021 tax refund was significantly greater than the years earlier than. In comparison with 2021 alone, 2022’s tax refund will now appear shockingly low. Is it, although?

Little one Tax Credit Snapshot for the Final 5 Years

  • 2018 – The utmost quantity of the credit score is $2,000 per qualifying little one.
  • 2019 – The utmost quantity of the credit score is $2,000 per qualifying little one.
  • 2020 – The utmost quantity of the credit score is $2,000 per qualifying little one.
  • 2021 – $3,600 for qualifying youngsters beneath age 6 and $3,000 for different qualifying youngsters beneath age 18
  • 2022 – The utmost quantity of the credit score returns to $2,000 per qualifying little one, in line with NerdWallet

Observe: $2,000 is the utmost credit score and never the utmost refund. Even for those who do not owe any taxes, there’s nonetheless a most refund you are allowed per little one. This yr, it is $1,500. In 2018, it seems to have been $1,400.

Inflation vs. Tax Refunds

A take a look at the final 5 years exhibits that not a lot has modified between 2018 and 2022 by means of tax credit and refunds, with 2021 as an outlier. Nevertheless, it is value bringing consideration to inflation throughout these 5 years. The PCE Value Index confirmed a 13.39% improve between 2018 and 2022. In different phrases, your tax refunds have stayed largely the identical for the final 5 years, regardless of your value of dwelling rising by roughly 13%. A 13% increase in 2018’s $1,400 max refund would come out to $1,582.

In different phrases, your refund nonetheless is not maintaining with inflation. Whether or not it ought to or not may very well be debated by specialists properly into the subsequent century…. if you’ll probably nonetheless solely get a $1,500 max refund.


A little bit of real recommendation: Get assist along with your taxes. Whether or not you have got one dependent or 5 dependents, are SAH or WFH, or one thing in between, taxes may be overwhelming. And there are annual adjustments which are practically not possible to maintain up with. Sure, you may get your tax type out of your native library, fill out all of the bins, and it’ll probably be right. However there are higher, extra fashionable choices.

You’ll be able to take it to H&R Block and pay somebody skilled to do it for you. Many banking and cash apps will even do it for you without spending a dime and supply audit safety. Credit score Karma used to supply free tax submitting however now recommends Money App. You’ll be able to actually do your taxes in your cellphone, out of your sofa, whereas watching That ’90s Show.

You tackle sufficient big issues every single day. Do not attempt to deal with your taxes by yourself just because that is how your dad and mom did it.

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