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If you have not been paying close attention to financial news over the past few months and you are expecting your tax return in January to pay off some of those Christmas bills, you are going to be in for a big surprise. The IRS is delaying tax returns this year in an effort to stop fraud that is on the rise.
The people who are going to be affected are those who either claimed the Child tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit. If any return was filed and took advantage of those credits, the returns are going to be held and reviewed for fraud. The reason being is that a growing number of filers last year fraudulently took these credits even though they did not quality.
The IRS says that there is another reason they are implementing the delay in returns, to combat identify theft. What happens is that these scammers have found a unique way to scam the system and make off with a bundle of cash. The scam goes like this; the person will steal a social security number, file the return on the earliest possible date in January, and then by the time the real person files, they see their return is rejected because a return was already filed.
By delaying the tax returns, IRS auditors can check to ensure the person receiving the money is who they say they are. This is being done with security measures filers must now utilize on their returns, from passwords and ID numbers, all in an effort to stop identity theft. This is the first year the delay is in place, and should cut into the growing fraud with tax returns.
The IRS begins to accept tax returns on January 23, 2017 this year, and if you did not take advantage of any of the credits, you should see your return as usual. If you did make use of one of the credits, the IRS will now hold the return until February 15, 2017, and refunds should be released soon after.
If you plan on taking advantage of these credits, the IRS wants to inform you before you think there is trouble with your return. The IRS website Where’s My Refund page will provide your daily updates on your tax return check status.