The first of many refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) should make their way to their respective taxpayers very soon. The Internal Revenue Service says some returns have cleared the verification process and could appear in bank accounts this week.
Federal law enacted in 2015 mandates that refunds for returns claiming either the EITC or the ACTC must be held until mid-February to give the IRS time to verify the claims for the credit. Other factors, including the recent Presidents’ Day weekend, can also figure into the delay.
First, the Easy Ones
The first returns out of the IRS gate will be those that satisfied two key criteria: they had no issues and use direct deposit for a refund. Many factors, however, can affect the timing of a refund once the IRS gets the return. While the IRS says it’s able to issue most refunds in less than 21 days, some refunds can take longer.
The best place to check the progress of a refund is through the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” tool. Keep in mind that the website is updated only once per day – usually overnight – so checking it more than once a day won’t give any additional information.
The IRS also offers a few important things to keep in mind about tax refunds:
- The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
- IRS customer service representatives cannot provide refund information until 21 days have passed since the return was filed. “Where’s My Refund?” provides the most up-to-date information.
- Taxpayers need their Social Security number, tax filing status (single, married, head of household) and exact amount of the tax refund claimed on the return to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. Or they can call 800-829-1954.
- Requesting a transcript will not reveal a tax refund status, despite the social media myth to the contrary.
- Some tax returns take longer to process than others for many reasons. The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail if more information is needed.
Please remember the IRS will not contact taxpayers by phone or email without previous contact by postal mail. And should a taxpayer receive a “refund” before actually filing an income tax return, contact the IRS at 828-829-1040 immediately. It could be part of a scam.