WASHINGTON -- People who count on getting their tax refunds in January to pay off holiday shopping bills might not see their money until mid-February, or even later.
"We want people to be aware of the change for their planning purposes during the holidays," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. "We don't want anyone caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than in previous years."
Many refunds will be delayed several weeks this year because of a new law and increased safeguards against identity theft and fraud, the agency announced this week.
If you claim the earned income tax credit (a benefit for working people with low to moderate income) or the additional child tax credit (a refundable tax credit for parents), you won't see your money until Feb. 15 at the earliest.
"A new law requires the IRS to hold refunds until mid-February in 2017 for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit," the agency said in a statement.
"In addition, new identity theft and refund fraud safeguards put in place by the IRS and the states may mean some tax returns and refunds face additional review."
Anyone who doesn't claim the EITC or the ACTC should get their refund within 21 days of their return being accepted by the IRS.
You can use the Where's My Refund? tool and the IRS2Go phone app to check the status of your refund.