Last year I received roughly $500 state tax refund. Everything is the same EXCEPT for the fact that I took on Full time(same company) in November. I did contribute to my new Retirement Plan, but it was a paltry 10-20$...

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  • 6
    Welcome to Money.SE. As it stands, the question is not clear enough to answer. First and foremost, the site has members from all over the world, and tax questions need a country tag. We don't have enough detail on you, your family situation, or anything about your finances. I can tell you, the US tax code changed in 2018, bigly. Some people saw their taxes drop, others, mostly those in Blue states with high state and property tax, saw an increase. I'd be thrilled to only see a $500 increase in my tax bill. You can edit your question, if you're so inclined. – JoeTaxpayer Feb 1 at 19:14

(Assuming US based on use of dollar sign and "state")

There were two major changes for you that most likely contributed to the lower refund. One is the change in federal tax laws that affect standard deductions and (the lack of) personal exemptions. The second is the change in job status. Both of those can affect your taxable income at the state level, affecting your refund even if no tax brackets or laws changed in your state.

Remember that your tax refund is dependent not only on your tax due but how much tax is withheld during the year. Withholdings are an inexact science, since the process is to take your periodic pay, extrapolate that to an entire year, determine what your total tax would be for the year, and withhold a pro-rated portion for that period. If your allowances on your W-4 are incorrect, or your pay is irregular (e.g. you get commissions or overtime periodically) your withholdings may be inaccurate when extrapolated out.

If you want to have a better chance at a refund next year, you can contact your payroll department to decrease the number of allowances on your W-4 at the state level (and federal if desired). That will increase your withholding each paycheck (reducing your take home pay) in exchange for a larger refund when you file.

  • Increasing allowances will decrease withholding, and decrease refund, or even result in taxes due (and possibly penalties, depending on how much is due and how withholding compares to the previous year total tax) – Ben Voigt Feb 1 at 20:18

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