Tax code changes leave Americans asking, "What happened to my refund?"

“Americans are obsessed with their refunds. What really matters is whether your taxes went up or down, not whether your refund went down,” said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center. “It’s really important that people don’t confuse their refund with the taxes they pay,” he said.

But even as Gleckman pointed out that some people’s overall tax burdens might be smaller this year, he acknowledged that many people come to expect and even rely on that refund.

“The people who file early are the people who generally count on these refunds. They may have an expectation of higher refunds,” he said. These taxpayers, especially those who hold down multiple jobs, could be in for a rude awakening.