By: Lillian Ayala & Kenya Petty
Small towns and villages like Hamlin are trying to make sense of the new tax reform law that was passed early last year.
As of January 1, 2018, new tax laws were passed which changed the dynamic of what happens when people file their taxes. Many people have been confused about the new changes and differences in the tax brackets.
Officials say that they are trying to help people understand the new changes.
Norman St. John is the bookkeeper for the town. St. John handles the town’s budget and paying the bills.
St. John explained why and how tax season is the most eventful time of the year in the clerk’s office and how they manage to get everything done.
“It’s busier in the clerk’s office during tax season. Collecting all the taxes then dispersing the money to the proper areas then the taxes get collected and disbursed to many different accounts,” St. John said.
Although officials are now handling taxes, a few months ago, locals were having trouble
Every year tax season gets a little more difficult for people who must file. Although some people are used to doing so, each year something new comes into effect that makes people take a step back and decide if they’re still going to be able to handle filing on their own.
“Last year’s tax season was a little bit different because of the tax laws. This year was a shock for many people. Some people who were expecting refunds didn’t get them. Some people were not expecting them and got them. I think people are adjusting to what they need to do. This was a learning year for everyone,” he said.
The new tax law doubled the amount single and married couples filed for causing them to either go up or down a tax bracket or determined if they were still eligible to get a refund check.
People all over America have been dealing with the effects of the new tax laws. Alicia Charland is the school librarian in the town of Kendall. She often visits Hamlin to use their public library. She is someone who was affected by this new tax reform.
“We actually got back a little more”, she said.
Charland said that she does not really understand how the new tax reform works so she lets her husband take care of it.
“I was a little nervous. I had some friends who said that I should have some changes in our refund, but my husband did our taxes and we’re still ok,” Charland said.
Fortunately, she is one of the people who had good luck when it came to the new tax law.
With this new law in effect, tax season has become a little more difficult for those filing. Even though it has been a struggle, people have learned to deal with the new changes. People either learn to adjust to the ever-changing tax laws and patiently wait it out or take their taxes to a professional and let them handle it.
With all of this confusion, some people think that there should be more resources for people to understand how taxes work and how to file them.
St. John said that he was involved with a program in Batavia where he used to help people do their taxes for free. He said that it would be nice to have a program like that again, but its hard work and there are many liabilities.
“You are relying on volunteers. You have to be protective of that information, for tax forms you need your social security, a form of picture ID, “ he said.
Charland said that having a program for people to learn about taxes and how to manage their finances would be a good idea.
“The library is a good place to hold workshops like that for young people to learn how to manage their money and finances and understand it,” Charland said.
As tax season comes to an end, people are anxiously waiting in hopes that they will be eligible for a refund, just to start the process all over again for next year.