The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 requires the IRS to delay tax refunds for taxpayers who claim an earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit on their returns until at least February 15. The delay could help the IRS better check claims for these credits. But this new requirement will delay refunds only for certain low-income tax filers, in particular low-income families with children. Many of these families file their returns early and use refunds quickly to pay down debt or for spending on necessities. Delaying refunds will likely lead to additional financial hardships for some of these families, who in previous years had received and used their refunds before February 15.
Project: Refund to Savings (R2S)
Maag, E., Roll, S. P., & Oliphant, J. E. (2016, December). Delaying Tax Refunds for Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit Claimants. Tax Policy Center.