The IRS warned taxpayers that some tax refunds will be delayed until at least February 15 this year. A new tax law requires the IRS to hold returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credits. This allows the IRS a little extra time to review these returns to avoid mistakes and fraud attempts.
Taxpayers should still file when they normally would. The IRS says that most returns will still be processed within the usual 21 day window once the return is accepted. They also offer the Where’s My Refund tool again this year to allow taxpayers to track their refunds.
The IRS implemented identity protection tools that so far are very successful in reducing identity theft. This additional protection does have its price, in the form of potentially delayed refunds. They employed additional security measures this year, also.
The potential delay of refunds has caused professional tax preparation companies to jump on the potential for added income, too. Most companies charge a fee–and sometimes a substantial one–for “instant refunds.” Their target market? The people who can least afford the added cost. Taxpayers who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and are most likely to be affected by the delay are often those who need their refunds quickly.
However, ESR urges anyone whose household income is less than approximately $60,000 to take advantage of FREE tax return preparation at a Forsyth Free Tax VITA site, and be patient. Taxpayers receive their FULL refund through Forsyth Free Tax, and in some cases the delay may not be that much later than they would normally wait. We especially urge our clients to use Forsyth Free Tax VITA sites.