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Pay and Benefits

Where's My Tax Refund?

New changes for 2017

Some early filers may not receive their refund until after Feb. 15.

Many taxpayers plan their holiday shopping and other purchases on the fact they will get their tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the earliest possible date.

In 2017, that may not be the case.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, signed into law December 2015, requires the IRS to hold tax refunds which include Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15, 2017. Also, new identity theft and refund fraud safeguards by both the IRS and individual states may mean some tax returns and refunds face additional review.

Some Refunds Delayed in 2017

Beginning in 2017 the IRS, by law, must hold the entire refund - even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC - until at least Feb. 15. The IRS says this change helps 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 early filers may not have their refunds issued 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 remains the best way to get the status of a refund.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.
Infographic on tax refunds. Facts provided at the end of story.


Three Things You Need To Know About Your Tax Refund Infographic

1. If you file your tax return early and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds until mid-February in 2017.

2. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund - even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC - until at least February 15, 2017.

3. New identity theft and refund fraud safeguards by the IRS may mean some tax returns and refunds face additional review.