An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

  • Published
  • Defense Media Activity
Many taxpayers plan their holiday shopping and other purchases on the fact they will get their tax refund from the IRS at the earliest possible date.

In 2017, that may no longer 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 Feb. 15, 2017.

This law requires the IRS to hold refunds until mid-February in 2017 for people claiming the EITC or the ACTC. 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 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 John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner. "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 the IRS cannot issue refunds for some early filers 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.