March 5, 2019

HUH: Newsrooms that rushed to report tax refunds were smaller this year go silent on IRS data showing refunds have increased.

To be more specific, the average tax refund has increased to $3,143 from $3,103 last February, according to cumulative statistics comparing the 2018 and 2019 filing seasons.

Oddly enough, certain newsrooms have responded to this development with total silence. I say “odd,” because it was just a few weeks ago that these same newsrooms rushed to report that tax refunds were smaller this year, suggesting either implicitly or explicitly that the decrease was tied to the Republican Party’s tax reform bill.

“Millions of Americans could be stunned as their tax refunds shrink,” read a headline published on Feb. 10 by the Washington Post. The story reported, “Many Americans may confuse their meager refunds as a sign that they paid more in taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Generally, that is not true.” On Feb. 14, the Post ran a story titled, “IRS says average tax refund is down nearly 9 percent so far this year.”

That story included a line that reads, “Many early filers are still upset about getting a smaller refund or unexpectedly owing money, even if they did pay lower taxes overall as a result of the Republican tax bill that passed in December 2017.”

As of March 2, the Post has published nothing showing the average refund is now greater than it was at this point in 2018.

To be fair, the Washington Post is a terrible newspaper.

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