Tax quiz: Do you know more than other Americans?

This tax season is the first where Americans will be filing under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which might be causing some confusion among taxpayers.

The National Taxpayer Advocate warned errors on tax forms were up 200 percent compared with last year as a result of the new 1040 – which she said is complicating the process for both taxpayers and preparers.

As Americans fill out their returns, there are several items Americans appear to be unclear about.

A survey conducted among 1,000 respondents by online financial advising company, Betterment, between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, revealed that many people were not extremely confident about filing this year under the new law.

About one-quarter of Millennials and individuals belonging to Generation Z said they were “very confident” in their knowledge of taxes. That compares with 21 percent of Generation X and 14 percent of Baby Boomers.

Overall, 85 percent of people felt “somewhat” confident.

But those overly confident young Americans may not know as much as they think. Nearly 40 percent did not know the correct filing deadline for this tax season (April 15). Fifteen percent of Generation X answered incorrectly, while only 8 percent of Baby Boomers did not name the correct cutoff date.

Half of taxpayers did not know how much money was being withheld from their paychecks – a big source of contention this tax season after changes to the law and the withholding structure led to some refund surprises. Baby Boomers were more likely than younger Americans to know what portion of their income was being withheld.

With regards to the law itself, only 16 percent of taxpayers knew the standard deduction for single-filers had been raised under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to $12,000. About one-third knew personal exemptions had been eliminated. Slightly less than half of respondents were aware that tax rates for brackets had changed. A majority of people, however, did know about the new cap on state and local tax deductions.


This year, the average refund as of March 1 was $3,159, about the same as the comparable time period last year. Most people (41 percent) said they planned to use at least a portion of their check to pay off debt. Nearly 35 percent of respondents planned on saving their refund.

And while no taxpayers like coughing up their hard-earned cash, the largest proportion of respondents thought the government was allocating their tax dollars toward bureaucracy and waste. The second highest category was defense, which is where most people prefer their money be spent.