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IRS says tax filings, refunds down. Some are calling it a scam

The IRS said this week that the number of tax returns and the average amount received is down compared with last year, possibly the first sign the recent tax reform laws changed more than many expected.

The average amount of a refund was down by 8 percent from last year and the number of refunds filed was down by 24 percent, the IRS said this week. The lag in filings could be attributed to the government shutdown which lasted 35 days, cutting into the beginning of tax season.

Republicans are being faulted for the drop in cash received from the average tax return since the changes were ushered in by a GOP-backed tax change that was signed into law near the end of 2017. The changes to the tax code were expected to put 1 million Californians on the hook for an additional $12 billion in taxes, a state government analysis showed.

Californians and the nation are coalescing around the hashtag #GOPTaxScam to commiserate about their disappointing tax returns.

Mike Finch joined The Bee in July 2018 as a data reporter after working at newspapers in Alabama and Florida. A Miami native, he has been a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors since 2012 and studied political science at Florida International University.