Expecting a Tax Refund This Year? You May Not Get It Until February
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Expecting a Tax Refund This Year? You May Not Get It Until February

Due to a new law, those claiming certain tax credits will not receive their refund until February

December 5, 2016

Many taxpayers expect to cushion holiday expenses, pay necessary bills, or build up savings with the help of a tax refund. However, due to a new law, those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit will not receive their refund until after February 15, 2017.

There are two basic steps that these people should follow to receive their refund as quickly as possible:

  1. Before filing your return, ensure that you have collected all documents and statements necessary for verifying your income and the deductions for which you are eligible.
  2. File the return as soon as you have all the documents needed; waiting to file could delay the refund even more.

You might see an advertisement or offer somewhere for a loan or other advance to help you obtain your refund more quickly. Make sure to carefully look at all the terms of any kind of "refund advance" before you agree to accept one. No one can get you your refund faster than the IRS can.

Tips to Manage the Delay

Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the delay:

  • Prioritize all essential bills, such as rent and utilities. Do not rely on being on able to use your tax refund to pay such bills if a delay in receiving the refund will make you late on your payment.
  • Buying gifts for the holidays? Try to pay with cash. If using your credit card and planning to pay with your refund, keep in mind the fact that you might have to wait longer and that you could incur late charges on a bill if your refund is delayed.
  • If you manage to get a bit of extra money before the holiday season, think about saving part of it as an emergency fund that you will be able to rely on in the event your refund takes longer than you expect.

Tips for Filing Your Return

  • Need help filing? Think about looking for a local volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) site somewhere in your community. These sites are run by volunteers trained by the IRS who will prepare your taxes free of charge if you are an individual or family with an income below $54,000.
  • If you are an individual or family whose income is less than $62,000, you can go to the Free File Alliance to file your taxes online using commercial tax preparation software for free.