A recent law requires the IRS to delay issuing refunds for certain taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The law has no exceptions and is designed to make it easier for the IRS to find and stop fraud.

In addition, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed. Factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of February 27, 2018.


Whether or not claiming the EITC or ACTC, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Though the IRS issues more than nine out 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review.

No one can speed up your refund, so don’t pay someone who promises they will!

Additional important information:

  • IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns once the filing season begins. You can file as you normally do.
  • The vast majority of taxpayers will NOT be impacted by this change in the law. However the IRS will use every opportunity to set realistic expectations regarding EITC/ACTC refunds.
  • This change helps ensure that you receive the refund you are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.
  • Even though the IRS cannot issue refunds for some early filers until February 15, most refunds will still be issued within the normal timeframe: in less than 21 days, after being accepted for processing by the IRS
  • You can always check the status of your refund with the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go Mobile App.

To learn more, visit www.irs.gov/individuals/steps-for-tax-filing-season and see the “Refunds” section.