This year I'm receiving less than the amount received last year for the income-tax federal refund. I used creditkarma and I'm using it again. For the last year's tax income, we added +1 dependent and hospital expenses.

This year my situation is the same. I work in the same place, same role, same salary. Same number of dependents. Same kind of medical care / insurance expenses. Same kind of place for living, but moved to a different zip code. But still on TX.

We have 404k and the same kind of contribution, not changed in anything from this period in comparison with the past one.

We are not permanent residents. We have a temporary permission and the Visa TN.

Do you know what exactly had happened/affected with/the tax income this year as is coming really reduced?

2 Answers 2


A refund is not a specific amount each year, it is the amount that you overpaid throughout the year- the sum of amount that was withheld for taxes each paycheck minus the amount that you ultimately are to pay in taxes. It sounds simple, but a lot of people do not understand this- they look at the refund as an expected amount each spring. There were changes in 2018 where the withholding was less than in 2017. They also made some changes to the taxes such that most people payed less but it is complex- standard deduction went up (should mean less tax), marginal rates went down (less tax), personal exemption went away (more tax), some itemized deductions were reduced, limited, or eliminated (more tax, or more reason to use standard deduction.)

Look at your final paycheck or W-2. Was the total federal tax withheld more, less, or the same as 2017? Look at your 1040, was the total tax owed more, less, or the same as 2017? That will at least tell you what changed. It will be one of the following:

  1. You owed more taxes this year. This is unlikely unless you have a complicated itemized deduction. Other things could happen (big raise) but I am taking your stated facts- same job, same pay, same family, etc.

  2. They withheld less each paycheck.

  3. Your taxes and withholding both changed, but the net was that the withholding was reduced more than the taxes were reduced.

Most likely is #2 or #3.

  • Thanks Damila, finally I filed using creditkarma. Mostly was #3, thought .
    – mario ruiz
    May 8, 2019 at 16:53

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the TN-VISA, but if you haven't considered it:

Look at how much less you are getting back and compare that amount to the cost of paying a human for your tax prep. If you do this, shop around first because prices vary quite a bit.

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