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Ask the Experts All About the W-4! >> Event happening TOMORROW!
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Why am I getting so little back this year

 
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3 Replies
HelenC12
Expert Alumni

Why am I getting so little back this year

If your federal refund is lower than expected, it's because you didn't have enough federal income taxes withheld from your paychecks. Do a line by line review of your 2020 Form 1040 versus your 2019 Form 1040 to identify the difference or differences. See  Preview your 2020 1040 Also, see the information below. 

  • Tip: If your refund is wildly off, you may have mistyped a dollar amount somewhere. An extra digit here, a missing number there, even a misplaced decimal point can have an eye-popping (but easily correctable) effect on your refund.

If you didn't update your form  W-4 for 2020 or 2019, it’s highly possible this is why you owe. If you'd like to get a bigger refund, complete a form W-4 for 2021 and have an additional withheld. You'll get less money in your paycheck but you'll get a bigger refund next year. 

 

We've got some other possible reasons for a year-over-year refund decrease:

Source: TurboTax FAQ

 

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Shakara
Returning Member

Why am I getting so little back this year

Need to talk to someone about why am I getting so little back

DawnC
Expert Alumni

Why am I getting so little back this year

A common occurrence in 2020 has been unemployment income.  Many people who received unemployment either only had federal withholding applied to their payments or had no withholding at all.  And since unemployment is taxable income at both the federal and state level, if the amount you received was large, it will cause you to owe income tax (or reduce your refund), either to the federal government, the state government or both.

 

We can't see your tax returns here in the Community.  You can add TurboTax Live to get access to tax experts who can view your tax return and provide you with specific answers to these types of questions for you.  @Shakara

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