Beginning in 2017, the IRS will hold tax returns claiming the earned income or additional child tax credits until mid-February.
Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the earned income or additional child credits — until at least Feb. 15. This gives the agency more time to detect and prevent fraud, ensuring that taxpayers get the refund they are owed.
''This is an important change to be aware of for some taxpayers used to getting an early refund," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We'll be focusing on awareness of this change throughout the fall, but it's important for taxpayers who might be affected by this to be aware of the change for their planning purposes. Although we still expect to issue most refunds within 21 days, we don't want people caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than 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 also submit returns as they normally do.
Even though the IRS cannot issue refunds for some early filers until at least Feb. 15, the IRS reminds taxpayers that most refunds will still be issued within the normal timeframe: 21 days or less, after being accepted for processing by the IRS.