IRS Delays Refunds

Some early filers may have to wait a week longer than expected for their refund checks this year, as the Internal Revenue Service tweaks its computer system to prevent refund fraud.

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The delay will only affect taxpayers who filed returns before January 26, according to an IRS spokeswoman. H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) and TurboTax (NASDAQ:INTU) have already posted notices to their customers about the delay. Taxpayers who filed online can get more information from the “where’s my refund” section on the IRS website.

Taxpayers who e-file their returns and arrange for direct deposit typically receive their refunds within 10 to 21 days. Many Americans who file their taxes early do so because they urgently need their refunds to pay bills. For them, even a one-week holdup could present a serious hardship.

“The people that come in early tend to be people who really need their tax refunds desperately,” says Andy Stadler, an enrolled agent in Terre Haute, Indiana. “Even a week is a huge deal.”

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