Large majority of taxpayers prefer getting refunds: poll

Large majority of taxpayers prefer getting refunds: poll

A large majority of taxpayers would rather get a refund annually than pay the IRS during the filing season, according to a poll conducted by SurveyMonkey for The New York Times.

Almost 80 percent of those polled said they'd prefer to overpay their taxes during the year and get a refund, basically giving the government an interest-free loan, than pay less throughout the year and owe the IRS money, the survey found.


The poll comes during the first tax-filing season under President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE's tax-cut law when much attention has been paid to the size of people's refunds.

The IRS issued guidance early last year to adjust tax withholding from people's paychecks in light of Trump's tax law. Treasury estimated last year that the new withholding guidance would result in several million fewer people receiving refunds this year, compared to if the tax law hadn't been enacted.

IRS data found that the average refund amount through March 15 is comparable to the refund amount from the same period last year. But taxpayers' individual situations vary, so some people are seeing larger refunds while others are seeing smaller refunds or are owing money.

The poll found that people who said they got bigger refunds this year had higher approval ratings of the GOP tax law and of President Trump. Eighty percent of respondents who reported a bigger refund said they approved of the tax law, compared to 40 percent approval among those who reported a smaller refund and 38 percent approval from respondents who said they owed money.

Tax refunds and tax cuts are not the same thing, and independent analysts have estimated that the vast majority of taxpayers are getting a tax cut. People could have gotten a tax cut even if they got a smaller refund because they had less in taxes withheld from their paychecks throughout the year.

However, the poll found that those with smaller refunds were more likely to think they didn't get a tax cut than those with larger refunds.

A SurveyMonkey researcher told the Times that Republicans were more likely to report bigger refunds than Democrats. However, the Times reported that Republicans who reported smaller refunds also were less likely to think they got a tax cut. 

Overall, the poll found increasing support for Trump's tax law. The poll found that 50 percent of respondents approved of Trump's tax law, up from 45 percent in September.

The poll found that 43 percent of those who already filed their tax returns said they probably or definitely got a tax cut, while only 35 percent of those who had yet to file their returns said the same.

SurveyMonkey conducted an online survey of 10,046 adults from March 4 to March 10. Of the respondents, 4,073 said they had already filed their taxes. The poll has a modeled error estimate, which is similar to a margin of error, of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.