Refund MIA? How to deal with ongoing refund delay
H&R Block Refund Advance available through Feb. 28
The refund delay that affected approximately 15 million taxpayers this year is about to lift. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act required the IRS to hold refunds for returns claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC) and additional child tax credit (ACTC) until February 15.
“Although the IRS will release those refunds on February 15, taxpayers will not see the funds deposit into their banking accounts until as late as the week of February 27,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director and vice president of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “There are many processing steps that the IRS, the Treasury and the banks go through to get the money into the taxpayers hands. That's why it is best for taxpayers to check the IRS’s Where’s My Refund website for any funding updates.”
Delay helps IRS combat tax identity fraud
The EITC received nationwide averaged approximately $2,500 per eligible taxpayer last year. While $65.6 billion was paid out last year, the IRS indicates that approximately one in five payments are made in error, either through fraudulent filing or confusion due to complexity in claiming the benefit. These credits are target rich for tax identity thieves and fraudsters. In fact, the EITC has one of the highest improper payment rates of the 16 “high-error” programs identified by the government.
Holding taxpayer refunds until February 15, along with the mandate that employers send employee W-2s to the IRS by January 31, gave the IRS additional time to help prevent revenue lost due to identity theft and refund fraud related to fabricated wages and withholdings.
How to deal with a delayed refund
For clients who desire access to money faster than the IRS can provide tax refunds, H&R Block will make available a Refund Advance of up to $1,250* from MetaBank® to current and new clients through February 28. The Refund Advance, a no-interest loan offered for a limited time at participating locations, is repaid with the client’s federal or state income tax refunds. In most cases, clients will have access to money the same day they apply.
This loan can provide a valuable life line to cover unforeseen expenses. This loan has no interest. Current and new clients can visit an H&R Block location, let their tax professional know they are interested and have their taxes e-filed. Those who apply will receive notification of approval or denial from the loan originator and many who are approved will receive the loan proceeds the same day.
For more information on Refund Advance taxpayers can visit www.hrblock.com/refundadvance. To learn more about tax law changes and refund delays due to the PATH Act, taxpayers can visit www.hrblock.com/path. To find a nearby location or make an appointment, visit www.hrblock.com or call 1-800-HRBLOCK.
*This is an optional tax refund-related loan from MetaBank®, not your tax refund. Loans offered in amounts of $500, $750, or $1,250. Approval and loan amount based on estimated refund, ID verification, eligibility criteria, and underwriting. If approved, funds will be loaded on a prepaid card and the loan amount will be deducted from your refund reducing the amount paid directly to you. Tax returns may be e-filed without applying for this loan. Fees for other optional products or product features may apply. Limited time offer, at participating locations. Not offered in PR. HRB Maine License Number FRA2. See hrblock.com/loan for details.
By Annelise Wiens
As the newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens is interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.