The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, made some broad changes: It introduced new tax brackets, included an expanded child care credit and changed the way itemized deductions are factored in, for example. Unfortunately, 28 percent of Americans don't understand exactly what's different, and almost half have no idea how the changes affect their tax bracket.
Adding to the confusion are early reports that refunds amounts dropped 8.4 percent and that the Internal Revenue Service is processing returns more slowly, in large part because of the 35-day partial government shutdown.
"The service was slow in its ability to process returns," says Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The IRS, in the first week of tax season, processed four million fewer returns, he says, even though it received two million fewer returns to process.
Given all this, what, if anything, can you do? Experts agree there's one smart move you can make: File as soon as possible.
Tax filing season, which started on January 28, 2019, runs through Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. So you can file ASAP, and that's what they recommend: "It's still a benefit to file early," Gleckman says.