Why your tax refund may be delayed

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Counting on your tax refund to help pay off those holiday bills, or maybe pay for your spring break vacation?  Millions of taxpayers may have to wait longer for those refunds this year, which is not good news if you are depending on it.

"I don't know why it would be," taxpayer John Schmidt said. "We all pay our taxes on time. I don't know why it should be delayed at all."

The reason? IRS Commissioner John Koskinen blames recent budget cuts of more than $300 million this year.

That means:

  • Longer waits for IRS customer service phone help.
  • Fewer employees to handle returns.
  • Higher risk of identity theft or errors.
  • Longer waits for refunds if you file paper returns or require a manual review.

Taxpayer Beth Colemeyer, however, is taking it all in stride: "It would be nice, but as long as I get it, it doesn't matter when."

The IRS expects this delay to lead more people to apply for refund anticipation loans.  But despite recent laws tightening the rules on "rapid refund" programs, a refund anticipation loan will still be costly, hitting you with high interest rates.

So what can you do to get a refund in a timely manner, without added costs? IRS spokesperson Jennifer Jenkins told us, “If you e-file and do it as soon as possible, you should not have any delays in getting your refund.”

Bottom line,  try to file electronically, and if you must use paper or require a manual review, get it in well in advance of April 15.

That way you don't waste your money.

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1 Comment

  • Derek

    Hey.. IRS… don’t make your problems my problems. I pay my taxes on time to avoid penalties. Pay me my refund in a timely manner or pay me a small interest rate for using MY MONEY. OR… stop taking it out of my check and just let me just pay it at the end of the year. That will save time and money processing returns and there won’t be such a big rush to get people back THEIR OWN MONEY.