A recent federal law change aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, requires the IRS to hold the refund of any tax return claiming either the EITC or ACTC until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund not just the portion related to these credits.
“I want to remind folks that as we move into the holiday season, some refunds will be delayed next year so they should plan ahead,” said IRS spokesperson Matt Leas. “To avoid any further delays, it’s important that taxpayers file as they normally would and not wait until later in the filing season.”
As of June 2016, 544,000 working individuals and families in Indiana received $1.3 billion in EITC alone, putting an average of $2,429 into the pockets of low-income working individuals and families. Similarly, 375,400 working individuals and families in the state received a total of $509.37 million in ACTC, an average of $1,357 per individuals and families. The IRS emphasizes that these are full-year totals for both of these credits and that only those claims filed before February 15 will be affected by the new law.
To avoid any further delays on their refunds, the IRS asks Hoosiers to file their returns as they normally do, not wait to file later in the season. Whether or not claiming the EITC or ACTC, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. The IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns however, are held for further review.
Because the entire tax refund and not only the credit portion will be held until February 15, the IRS encourages taxpayers to file a complete and accurate return the first time which will likely result in a faster refund. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process.
The IRS also encourages taxpayers to consider a tax-withholding checkup. By adjusting Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, taxpayers can ensure the right amount is taken out of their pay so that they will not have to pay too much tax or wait until they file their return to get a refund. Taxpayers should submit the revised form to employers, and employers will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay. For help, use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.
The IRS has a special page on IRS.gov with steps to take now for the 2017 tax filing season.