Delayed Refunds: What you should know

We get a lot of questions regarding rumors and talk about refunds being delayed this year. Here's a bit of information from the IRS explaining the regulations and the schedule set forth to help you determine if your refund might be subject to a delay and when you should expect to receive your refund.

By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before Feb. 15 for any tax return claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the part related to the EITC or ACTC. The IRS will begin to release these refunds starting Feb. 15.

These refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. This is true as long as there is no additional review of the tax return required and the taxpayer chose direct deposit. Banking and financial systems need time to process deposits, which can take several days.

“Where’s My Refund?” can be checked within 24 hours after the IRS has received an e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. "Where’s My Refund?" has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.

Users who access “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information. The IRS reminds taxpayers claiming the EITC or the ACTC that recent legislation requires the IRS to hold those refunds until mid-February. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of total filers will fall into this situation. The change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent tax fraud.

The IRS continues to strongly encourage the use of e-file and direct deposit as the fastest and safest way to file an accurate return and receive a tax refund. More than four out of five tax returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.

George Hill