IRS Warns Taxpayers of 2017 Tax Refund Delays
Do you look forward to getting a tax refund every time tax filing season comes around? Do you file as early as possible just so you can get that check as soon as possible?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that a tax refund is some kind of bonus. In reality, when you get a refund, it means that you’ve paid the government more than you had to, and have given them an interest-free loan that they are paying you back with your refund check. It’s definitely smarter to pay the right amount of taxes throughout the year and keep the money for yourself, and that’s especially true this year. The Internal Revenue Service has just warned the American public that in 2017, tax refunds are going to be sent out later than they have been previously.
Tax Refunds Being Delayed in 2017
Though we are used to thinking that a delay in a refund represents some kind of mess up on the part of bureaucrats, this time around there is very good reason for the refunds going out late. The first has to do with a new law that was specifically written to address people who file their taxes early and claim both the Additional Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The new law means that the agency is no longer able to issue partial refunds – instead they have to wait until February 15th, and only then will they issue the entire refund.
The other reason for the delay has to do with the very real and growing problem of identity theft. Because so many people have been victims of fraud – both at the federal and state level – the tax agencies are putting in additional layers of security for tax year 2016, which gets filed in 2017. According to a press release issued by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “We want people to be aware that we are taking additional steps to protect taxpayers from identity theft, and that sometimes means the real taxpayers face a slight delay in their refunds.” He goes on to say, “We don’t want people caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than previous years.”
Whether you have been figuring on using your tax refund check to pay for a big expense coming up or to pay off some mounting bills, there’s no reason to let the delay impact your ability to do so. The easiest way to address the problem is to adjust your withholding amount for the rest of the year. This will effectively give you more cash in hand right away to use for whatever you had planned, and prevents you from having to wait too long.
If you are uncertain as to how to adjust your withholding, or exactly how much you have overpaid for 2016, a licensed tax professional can help.