Congress' Delay Will Delay Tax Refunds, Too

For the millions of Americans who itemize deductions, that refund check may come later this spring.

In a lump-of-coal announcement on the eve of Christmas Eve, the IRS announced that, due to last-minute maneuvering on Capitol Hill, the agency won’t be ready to process more than 50 million returns until mid- to late-February. Since most returns demand refunds from the IRS, the delay means millions of taxpayers will have to wait to get their money back. (To correct overwithholding now so you can’t find yourself in this boat next year, try our Easy-to-Use Tax Withholding Calculator.)

When Congress okayed a big tax bill last week, attention focused on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, a payroll tax holiday and restoration of the federal estate tax. But at the IRS, there was plenty of angst about a group of retroactive tax changes that affect the 2010 returns. The agency is scrambling to make changes to forms and reprogram computers. But on Dec. 23, the agency admitted that it won’t be ready on time to accept returns affected by the changes.

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Kevin McCormally
Chief Content Officer, Kiplinger Washington Editors
McCormally retired in 2018 after more than 40 years at Kiplinger. He joined Kiplinger in 1977 as a reporter specializing in taxes, retirement, credit and other personal finance issues. He is the author and editor of many books, helped develop and improve popular tax-preparation software programs, and has written and appeared in several educational videos. In 2005, he was named Editorial Director of The Kiplinger Washington Editors, responsible for overseeing all of our publications and Web site. At the time, Editor in Chief Knight Kiplinger called McCormally "the watchdog of editorial quality, integrity and fairness in all that we do." In 2015, Kevin was named Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President.