LAUREN: THREE WEEKS INTO TAX SEASON AND SOME TAXPAYERS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT SMALLER REFUNDS COMPARED TO LAST YEAR. BUT THIS IS ALSO THE FIRST FULL FILING SEASON SINCE THE GOP OVERHAULED THE TAX CODE WHICH WAS AIMED AT GIVING A TAX CUT TO MOST AMERICANS. DAN GELCHARD IS A CPA. HE JOINS US NOW. CONGRATS ON THE BOOK.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. LAUREN: IF YOU COULD EXPLAIN TO OUR VIEWERS WHY YOUR TAX REFUND MIGHT ACTUALLY BE SMALLER THIS YEAR AND WE’LL GIVE EVERYBODY SOME NUMBERS. SO FAR, THEY’RE DOWN ALMOST 17% VERSUS LAST YEAR. THE AVERAGE REFUND CHECK, $2,640.>>YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE ENTIRE PICTURE HERE. YOU CAN’T JUST SAY WELL, THE TAX PLAN IS NOT WORKING DUE TO THE FACT THAT REFUNDS ARE DOWN. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER HERE IS THAT WHEN THIS TAX PLAN WAS BEING ROLLED OUT, THE PRESIDENT WAS VERY CLEAR ABOUT WANTING TO PUT MORE MONEY IN YOUR PAYCHECK, SO WHAT’S SIMPLY HAPPENING, I BELIEVE, IS THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING MORE MONEY IN THEIR PAYCHECK AS THEY GO ALONG, AS OPPOSED TO GETTING A LARGER REFUND. IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY PAYING MORE TAX. YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL YOU FILE YOUR TAX RETURN AND THEN COMPARE LAST YEAR WITH THIS YEAR TO TRULY TELL WHAT THE NET IMPACT IS ON THE TAX. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE REFUND. AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE OUT THERE MAKING THESE COMMENTARIES ABOUT THE TAX REFUND ARE REALLY HAVING A DISREGARD FOR THE WHOLE STORY AND THE WHOLE PICTURE. LAUREN: IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY OR MAYBE A MISS A TAKE BY MISTAE OR MAYBE A MISS A TAKE BY MISTAB OR MAYBE A MISS A TAKE BY MISTAY REPUBLICANS IN THE MESSAGING OF THIS? I THINK IT WAS 2001, THE BUSH TAX CUTS, YOU GOT A REFUND CHECK. PEOPLE JUST NOTICE WHAT THEY GET BACK. THEY DON’T REALIZE THAT THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE YEAR THEIR WITHHOLDING IS LESS. THEY WANT SOMETHING IN THE END. THEY WANT THAT BIG REFUND CHECK OR REBATE CHECK.>>YOU COULD BE RIGHT, IT MIGHT BE A MISTAKE. IT DOESN’T MEAN THEIR TAXES HAVE GONE UP. THE PROBLEM IS, TOO MANY PEOPLE USE THEIR TAX REFUND AS A METHOD FOR SAVINGS DURING THE YEAR. IT’S REALLY CRAZY. YOU’RE GIVING THE GOVERNMENT AN INTEREST-FREE LOAN FOR 12 MONTHS. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? HAVE A LITTLE FISCAL DISCIPLINE WITH THAT EXTRA MONEY THAT YOU’RE GETTING IN YOUR PAYCHECK, SET SOME ASIDE, AND NET-NET YOU PROBABLY WILL BE AHEAD OF THE GAME AT THE END OF THE YEAR AS FAR AS WHAT YOUR NET TAX SITUATION IS. LAUREN: ALL RIGHT.