July 31,2018

Press Contact:

Rachel McCleery, Office of Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Wyden Statement on GAO Report, Estimate that 30 Million Taxpayers will be Underwithheld Next Year

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued the following statement in response to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) independent review showing Treasury’s projection that 21 percent of taxpayers will owe more in taxes in 2019 due to underwithholding:

“This nonpartisan report is an alarm bell for the nearly 30 million households that are expected to owe more money come tax time this spring,” Wyden said. “Withholding tables directly affect the size of paychecks earned by Americans all across the country, and millions of American taxpayers have gotten bad advice under this Administration on how much to withhold. I agree with GAO’s recommendation that Treasury and IRS carefully document any changes made to these tables. The absence of a paper trail is an opening for future abuse.” 

Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., asked the GAO in January to independently analyze the 2018 withholding tables and determine whether they would result in the underwithholding of federal taxes from employee paychecks.

GAO included a series of Treasury analyses in their final report. Treasury projects their withholding tables will underwithhold taxes for 29.8 million individuals and families. Families making $75,000 with two children and claiming the standard deduction are expected to pay twice as much in taxes due to overwithholding. Treasury estimates that only six percent of taxpayers will have accurate withholdings.

GAO found that Treasury and IRS lacked documentation for the process of updating withholding tables and recommended that documentation be developed going forward.