It looks like we may have a repeat of 2016 and 2017 tax refund payment delays millions of American’s faced (and are still facing) this year. The IRS recently warned that there will likely be 2018 tax refund delays for certain taxpayers subject to several new factors and legislation (PATH Act) enacted in the past year.
Hence the IRS is urging tax payers to look closely at their tax withholding to ensure the right amount is being withheld. If too much is withheld then the people would expect a fatter tax refund this year, but with likely delays it could take quite a while to receive this. So only withhold what you have to and avoid giving the IRS a free tax payer loan.
“We don’t want people caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than previous years,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Tax law changes around two key tax credits are driving the IRS’ warning to review your withholding. One is the new law to hold tax refunds a few weeks for some early filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Under the Congress Act – Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) – the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 27th. The additional time helps the IRS stop fraudulent refunds from being issued to identity thieves and fraudulent claims with fabricated wages and withholdings.
In addition, the IRS and state tax administrators continue to focus on and deal with identity theft and refund fraud which are expected to increase this tax season. This will mean even more tax returns could again require additional reviews which all this takes extra time with the staffing/budget constraints at the IRS.
You can see key deadlines and filing dates for the tax season here. The IRS is still recommending that tax payers file as usual and is expecting most refunds (where applicable) to be issued within the normal timeframe: 21 days or less, after being accepted for processing by the IRS.