If you haven't had your taxes done yet, you may be terrified after hearing so many horror stories this year.

According to Dave LIngardo from Taxpert Tax Service in Hopewell Junction, the stories are true. But, it's not all bad news. Because of the drastic changes to the tax laws this year, many people are winding up with much lower refunds, and in some cases, people who are used to getting money back are now stuck with a bill.

So what happened?

Lingardo explains that the government has changed the formula for how much money is withheld from your weekly paycheck. Most people have been getting extra money in their pocket every week instead of handing it over to the government. Because of that, there's less for you to get back at the end of the year after your taxes have been calculated.

It's important to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Lingardo suggests comparing your final tax return from this year with last year's return. Most people will see that the actual money paid to the government was the same if not less than last year.

But that's little consolation for people who were completely unprepared for the changes and depend on their yearly return to pay other bills or go on vacation. Lingardo says that's the difference between getting your taxes done by a preparer instead of an accountant. If your taxes are done by an accountant, they will not only be able to file your return, but also counsel you on any changes that are on the horizon, and help you prepare for what's to come..

So what can you do now?

While you can't go back in time and change your withholding for this year, you can certainly make an adjustment now so you don't get stuck owing again in 2020. If you do wind up owing a considerable amount of money, the government does allow you to set up a payment plan that will allow you to make small installments over three years to pay back your taxes.

Lingardo says that the majority of his clients were prepared for this year's changes because he took the time to counsel his clients on the new laws. Many other people were not so lucky and feel blindsided by their return. If you file your own taxes or pay to have someone just plug your numbers into a computer, Lingardo suggests investing the money this year into seeing a certified accountant.  He says it's well worth the money to get the right advice and to set things up properly for next year.

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