Why your tax refund will be delayed this year

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 07:36:45-05

The noon lunch hour crowd wanted its food and wanted it now, here at Cincinnati's Findlay Market.

But something else many of these people would like right now, their IRS tax refund, may be delayed this year by at least two to three weeks.

And taxpayers were not liking the news. "I don't think that's a good thing," one woman said. "A lot of people rely on those tax refunds!"

New Law Expected to Bring Delays
A new law known as PATH,  passed by Congress in 2015, requires the IRS to give extra scrutiny to tax returns claiming the Earned Income Credit as well as the Additional Child Credit. (CLICK HERE to learn more about the law)

These are returns typically filed by lower income working people, who depend on their refunds to pay the bills.

But Frank Thompson doesn't like the idea of waiting longer for his own money. "You work, and you want to get paid on Friday.  You pay your taxes, you want to get your refund the first of the year."  

Why the Longer Wait

This is all an attempt to cut down on tax filing fraud, where scammers would file millions of bogus refunds in recent years, hoping to claim your refund before you do.

Many of those fraudulent filings targeted basic, or EZ returns that claimed the Earned Income Credit.  Hence, the increased scrutiny.

IRS spokesperson Jennifer Jenkins told us it's so important to file early these days, to prevent a scammer from having time to file under your name.

"You are increasing your chance that with your delayed filing, that they may step in and file using your information," Jenkins cautioned.

Sure, no one likes waiting a few more weeks for money that is rightfully theirs. But Won Hassan says if it prevents fraud, it will be worth it.

"I don't like it, but if it gives me more money, I'm willing to wait," she said.

One positive outcome: several major tax prep firms are offering interest-free advances to taxpayers affected by this delay.  So ask about an advance, if there are no major fees or interest attached, so you don't waste your money.


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