Agents at A-Plus Tax Preparations in Santa Maria say they've noticed a steep drop in refund totals for their local clients.
According to the IRS, the total amount refunded to American taxpayers this year is roughly $16 billion less than last year’s numbers.
“I have had some clients hoping for a bigger refund so they can fix their cars, or they have plans but they are disappointed in the end, so it has been kind of devastating for some people,” said Samantha Bork, an enrolled agent at A-Plus Tax Preparations.
She says many of her clients have seen their refunds for 2022 drop as much as a couple of thousand dollars.
Others we spoke to say they have actually found themselves having to pay taxes for the first time in years.
“I did not get a refund this year. I paid taxes both to the state and federal this year,” said Scott Leedham of Guadalupe.
Leedham tells KSBY he received stimulus checks that were issued during the pandemic in 2022, but as that benefit and the Enhanced Child Credit expired earlier this year, Bork says many others have come into their offices with similar experiences.
“Last year was a very special year, especially due to COVID. They had a lot of credits that were abnormal,” Bork added. “They increased a lot of credits to assist families. This year, it is pretty much back to normal. It is the same as, I would say, 2019.”
Nationwide, the IRS estimates that American taxpayers will receive roughly $360 less on their returns than last year.
Leedham says that during a time when the cost of living in California is already high, having to pay more taxes has been a new adjustment.
“I think it is a huge impact right now because of the higher prices in groceries and things like that, as well as people who were counting on their return to go on a trip or go see family,” he said.
If you still haven’t gotten around to filing your taxes this year, people living in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties or other regions in the state that were impacted by January flooding will have until October 16 to get them in.
Bork adds that this year, their offices have seen an increase in farmers listing crop damage when filing for refunds.