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News

Early tax filers may not receive refunds until after Feb. 15

By Bob Kramer December 6, 2016

FORT MEADE, Md. (Defense Media Activity) -- Some taxpayers plan their holiday shopping and other purchases on the assumption they will get their tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service in January.

In 2017, that may no longer be the case.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH Act, signed into law December 2015, requires the IRS to hold tax refunds that include earned-income tax credit and additional child tax credit until Feb. 15, 2017.

This law requires the IRS to hold refunds until mid-February in 2017 for people claiming the earned-income tax credit or additional child tax credit. Also, new identity theft and refund fraud safeguards by both the IRS and individual states may mean some tax returns and refunds will face additional review.

SOME REFUNDS DELAYED IN 2017

Beginning in 2017, the IRS must hold the entire refund -- even the portion not associated with the earned income credit or additional child credit -- until at least Feb. 15. The IRS says this change will ensure taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

''This is an important change, as some of these taxpayers are used to getting an early refund," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We want people to be aware of the change for their planning purposes during the holidays. We don't want anyone caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than in previous years."

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns once the filing season begins. All taxpayers should file as usual, and tax return preparers should submit returns as they normally do.

Although the IRS cannot issue refunds for some early filers until at least Feb. 15, the IRS reminds taxpayers most refunds will be issued within the normal timeframe: less than 21 days, after being accepted for processing by the IRS.

The Where's My Refund? tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app remain the best way to check the status of a refund.