Because of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed in December 2017, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of the Treasury changed the withholding tables, which are the guidelines employers use to decide how much income tax to deduct from your paycheck.
But lots of Americans didn't realize they were supposed to adjust their W-4 forms, too. And the largest share of people who may now get an unpleasant surprise when they file their taxes are those who didn't adjust their W-4s.
Overall, refunds dropped more than 8 percent during the first week of tax filing season this year, according to the IRS. And about 30 million people, more than 1 in 5 taxpayers, didn't have the right amount of taxes withheld from their pay and may not get a refund at all, the Government Accountability Office reports.
Instead, they may owe the IRS money.
If you find yourself with a bill instead of a refund, it's important to take it seriously. Failure to pay can damage your credit score, cost you more money in interest and penalties and, in extreme cases, lead to criminal prosecution.
Here are three steps you can take to make things better, both for this year and going forward: