With tax season officially kicking-off January 23, 2017, many early filers could expect a longer wait time to receive their refund. There are two main reasons for tax refund delays this year.
The first reason is for the massive number of e-files waiting to hit the IRS on tax season opening day. Most tax professionals and software companies already began preparing returns in early January, building up e-files all awaiting to be processed by the IRS beginning Monday January 23rd.
The other key cause of refund delays applies to those with tax refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). A new law requires the IRS to hold back refunds till February 15th. This gives the agency additional time to check these returns for fraud.
A FOX News article on 1/10/17 states that the IRS estimates that it issued $3.1 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves in 2014, and paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds in 2013. This year the agency is executing new efforts to fight identity theft and fraud.
Because these additional steps and checks take extra time, the IRS will not release EITC/ACTC refunds till February 15th. However, the agency alerts that you should not count on seeing your refund arrive until the week of February 27th.