You may be getting less money than you expect in your tax refund this year. Or worse, you may be on the hook to pay.
Refunds dropped 8.4 percent during the first week of tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service reports. The average refund this year so far has been $1,865, compared with $2,035 during the same period a year ago.
The drop could be an early indicator of how the tax changes introduced in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are affecting Americans. "If I were to estimate, two-thirds will pay more than they thought and one-third will get more than they thought," one New York City tax preparer told NBC News.
In recent years, it's been fairly easy to estimate what your tax return would be, especially if you didn't change jobs or go through a significant life event. But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, enacted a number of broad changes: It introduced new tax brackets, included an expanded child care credit and changed the way itemized deductions are factored in, for example.
These shifts, which are in effect for the first time for the full 2018 tax year, have created a lot of uncertainty. About 28 percent of Americans don't understand exactly what changed and almost half have no idea how the changes affect their tax bracket.
Given all that, here's what experts say you should do now.