I'm So Sorry to Report That Lots of People Are Gonna Owe the IRS at Tax Time

Trump holding his tax bill
Trump holding his tax bill
Image: AP

Here’s something fun: More people than usual are going to owe additional money to the IRS because they aren’t withholding enough in the wake of the Trump tax bill!

NPR picked up a report from the Government Accountability Office. Of course there’s always a fair few people who end up owing money because they didn’t withhold enough, but this year there’s been an uptick thanks to the bill:

Based on simulations run by the Treasury Department, the GAO says taxes for 30 million Americans – 21 percent of taxpayers — are being under-withheld by their employers, meaning they are getting a larger check this year, but will owe at tax time in April. According to the simulations, 73 percent of taxpayers will be over-withheld and receive a refund from the Internal Revenue Service.

When the simulation was run as if there had been no change in the tax law, 18 percent of taxpayers, or about 27 million, would have experienced under-withholding and 76 percent would have been over-withheld. In both scenarios, just 6 percent of taxpayers would have the correct amount of withholding.


Those who particularly might want to double-check: “a hypothetical taxpayer who is married with two children, earning $180,000 annually, $20,000 of which comes from non-wage income and who itemizes deductions.” But there’s no harm in taking a look even if you are absolutely not in that category. Better to catch anything now than the evening of April 13th.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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yeah, i do not understand america’s fucking tax laws. why is anyone under- or over-withheld? do they (the irs? my employer? idk who even “they” is) not know how much tax should be withheld on each paycheck? could they not just...do that, and then there’s no tax day?