It’s that time of year, folks! Gather ’round with your W-2 forms and start remembering all of those tax deductible charity organizations that came knocking. Very shortly, our annual tax prep season will commence, leaving many with big returns and a little extra spending money for the month.
Today, however, the IRS left us with some bad news in saying that families that receive the earned income tax credit, or the additional child tax credit, will not receive their tax refunds until the end of February.
Right around 40 million Americans receive either one or both of those credits, which usually means that they get a relatively hefty refund back from the government. This, however, outlines the problem as identity thieves have been using taxpayers’ personal information, sometimes going as far as to steal their W-2s and past tax returns to claim refunds on their behalf.
In hopes to stop some of this refund check fraud, the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, announced today that the agency will be scrutinizing tax returns claiming these credits more closely, delaying them until the end of February for the earliest filers.
According to The Consumerist, the IRS claims that it has made progress in blocking fraudulent refunds, but that’s why it needs to delay those returns, even if it means delaying payments.
Tax preparer H&R Block has gotten ahead of the game and promised interest-free loans to cover the extra waiting period for its customers, while other preparers will more than likely offer similar solutions for families who are anxious to receive their tax refund money. People with simple tax returns and modest incomes can easily file for free online.
Yet the tax preparers are ready to help do their part to help their customers and help the IRS keep refunds out of identity thieves’ wallets. The IRS estimates that it paid out $3.1 billion in fraudulent refunds in 2014.
“All of the players in the industry are sharing information against the common enemy, which is organized crime,” the president and CEO of H&R Block told the AP.