Tax Refund Delay Extravaganza Kicks off the Tax Season

Most people already know about tax refund delays when you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. This isn’t because the IRS just feels like holding your money for fun. The IRS introduced us to this back at the end of 2015 but some are just finding out about it now. Let it be known– if you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your tax return it will be delayed if you are an early filer.  So if ya don’t know, now ya know!

We wrote more about how to know if you are subject to the Path Act.

The IRS is not the Villain who planned a tax refund delay

Even if you file your return and it gets accepted early, refunds with the EITC or ACTC won’t be released until after February 15th according to the IRS. A new law took effect in 2017 that requires these types of refunds to be held.  What!!!? This is one reason why you could see a tax refund delay. We wrote about the new law here in our PATH Act post where you can read more about the actual law itself. The IRS isn’t being a bully by holding on to our refunds. They are just the agency that carries out what the PATH Act law requires.

Don’t let yourself get into a pickle. Plan ahead.  It may seem like a punishment, but the IRS has been trying to stop ID theft and fraud. The law is intended to delay refunds to ensure they get into the proper hands, avoid identity theft, and defend from people who fraudulently claim these credits. The IRS believes many of these illegal returns tend to be filed early in the tax season. The IRS was skewered by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General over these matters. If you want to read more about these recommendations (butt chewings) and see the mechanics of the law, head over there to that PATH Act post.

Will the tax refunds be deposited on February 15th?

No. Although you very well could see tax refunds deposited the day after in certain cases. Check out our refund cycle chart to see when we think you will receive a tax refund with Path credits. We don’t know exactly when all the deposits will be sent, but we have seen them be deposited as early as February 16th when you meet all these circumstances: 1) paid fees upfront rather than having them deducted from your refund. 2) Did not take a refund advance and 3) Use a No Hold Bank.

Behind the scenes, the Path Act freeze is lifted on the 15th, and transcripts update the next day for a deposit a few days after.

It remains to be seen every year, but we look at past years. The IRS says don’t count on it until the end of February. We expect those with prepaid debit cards and similar types of banks who post deposits earlier than some banks to see deposits first. But as the story always goes, it’s all speculation until the IRS refund machine starts pumping out deposits.

Let’s be real, there is always some sort of glitch.

We are not sure what is store for us this tax season, there always seems to be some sort of glitch every year. It’s easy to wonder if the new procedures will cause even more of a delay.  I can’t imagine a January or February without tax refund mania. We have come to expect the three ring circus and accept the daily nuttiness from our early filers (myself included). Count on the tax refund grapevine at to help. If you need more information please post a question and we will try our best to get you an answer. Also, search our site we have tons of information on many different topics.

Tax Refund CalendarIRS Reference NumbersAsk Tax Refund Question

Check out other reasons tax refunds could be delayed. Resequenced or Unpostable Return

What Others Are Saying

  1. MotherofWolves

    I am posting this in multiple discussions because this was a weird situation.
    Filed and accepted 1/23 (the first day of the season). NOT EITC and NO ACTC. Standard 1040 with no changes and a standardized deduction. Filed through TT.
    Never an issue with returns and always saw them within 2 weeks from acceptance date. I went past the 21 days and started the phone calls. Nobody could tell me anything at first. I went online and did ID Notify and hoped to see a Tax Transcript. NOTHING.
    Fast Forward to beginning of March. Called the “make an appointment” number and had a very helpful man speak to me. After researching he saw that when TT transmitted the return to the IRS there was a glitch that sent over more data. It is like multiple of the same paper returns stuck together. He told me someone had to physically go in and do this by hand and that is the reason for the delay.
    Was told by him at that point that it was a daily update for this so to just keep checking WMR. Which I did.
    About a week later I saw the Topic 152 pop up on WMR and I called to check. Was told the error was resolved and it was now in the cue for processing like normal. A week later Topic 152 disappeared and it showed it was still processing. I called to find out what was going on and was told, at first, 110 days, then 9 weeks from March 9th.
    A week after that, nothing had updated on WMR so I started calling again and was getting a different answer. I was told that it was in the returns department. And the representative kept using the works “they and them.” I asked “who are they and them?” In return I got a snotty remark that sent me into the stratosphere. I hung up and then immediately called the tax advocate number. Fun fact, they like to just transfer you back to the 1040 number. It is a psycho loop. Well, I called the make appointment number again and got someone that looked at it and told me that it WAS corrected and hit the processing cue on March 9th and that is where the date came from and it could take up to another 8 weeks to process. I expressed confusion because new returns that go into this cue are processed in the matter of days and yet I am stuck for another 8 weeks. He said that this is just a general time frame.
    All of that and no set DDD and according to this timeline, it could bring the refund to me AFTER the tax deadline. This does mean that they are required to pay interest, which is why I do not understand the lack of pushing through these corrected returns. I also do NOT have a tax transcript, which I cannot understand. If I had one I would not need to make these calls. I also never received any updates in the mail from the IRS. If I had not called then I would not know any of this. All of that said, I have had very minimal wait time for a representative. The longest wait has been about 10 minutes.
    My advice for those in limbo is to call the appointment number NOT the 1040. Tax Advocacy is a JOKE. And there is not a magic supervisor that can move your return up. You need to be your own advocate.
    Also, Fun Fact, TT is more than happy to take fees before a refund drops EVEN IF THE DELAY IS DUE TO THEIR ERROR. I am not sure if other companies do that, but be aware.
    So, as of now I am still processing, no tax transcript, and given another 8 weeks to wait, which puts me at another window ending on May 11th, nearly a month after the tax deadline.
    If you have had this issue this year and it has been resolved, I would love to know your timeline.

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