Getting IRS tax help gets a bit more complicated
Mail thief gets roaches instead of tax refund, filing data

Where's your refund? Still in the works for ACTC, EITC filers

Updated Feb. 14, 2019

Princess Bride impatience via Giphy.comPrincess Bride impatience via

Mid-February is finally here, the time when the Internal Revenue Service can finally issue refunds to taxpayers who had claimed the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) and/or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Does that mean these refunds will show up today? No, that's a refund myth, even if you filed your Form 1040 on Jan. 28, the first day that the IRS began processing 2018 tax year returns.

Neither is your refund likely to be directly deposited into your bank account, loaded onto a debit card or as a paper check stuffed in your snail mail box next week.

In fact, the IRS is warning affected ACTC and EITC filers that they probably won't have their tax cash before Feb. 27. And that's in the best-case scenario; that is, when the refund is directly deposited and there are no other issues with the filing.

Reasons for delays: It's no secret why refunds due taxpayers who claim the two refundable, meaning you get money back even if you don't owe any tax for it to offset, credits are slow.

Congress, concerned that ineligible folks were getting EITC and ACTC cash, mandated the mid-February hold starting last filing season. That gave the IRS extra time to make sure the claims were legit.

Other returns are delayed because of the inevitable errors many filers make.

Then there are the increased number of filters and checks that the IRS puts all returns through to ensure that they are being filed by lawful taxpayers and not identity stealing criminals. It's working.

Since 2015, the number of tax-related identity theft victims has fallen by almost two-thirds, according to an IRS announcement earlier this month.

In 2017, the IRS received 242,000 reports from taxpayers compared to 401,000 in 2016, a 40 percent decline. That marked the second year in a row this number fell, thanks in large part, to the IRS' work with its Security Summit partners in the tax industry and state tax departments.

No firm delivery dates: Still, for taxpayers anxiously awaiting tax refunds, the delays can be frustrating.

The IRS used to issue an annual chart, officially known as IRS Publication 2043, of when you could expect your tax refund. Too many folks, however, started taking those delivery dates as strict promises.

So in 2012, the last year of the printed refund timetable, the IRS decided to focus instead online refund tracking. That year, filers started getting more personalized refund status info via the IRS' Where's My Refund? search tool.

Last refund delivery date chart by IRS

Now millions of taxpayers each year use Where's My Refund? to find out, well, where exactly in the IRS processing system their refund is. Once a return is processed, the tracking tool lets the inquiring taxpayer know an expected delivery date for his or her refund money.

The refund data is updated once a day, usually overnight, so checking it more often won't get you any additional info or spur a quicker arrival of your refund.

You can check out Where's My Refund from your PC or laptop, as well as your digital devices with the IRS2Go app. Or you can use your cell phone to call 1 (800) 829-1954 for refund information.

Recreating refund tables: Some folks have recreated the old refund cycle chart to project when refunds filed on a certain date might be available.

These unofficial tables generally use the IRS' oft-repeated statement that it issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days to project when refunds filed on a certain date might be available.

I get it. I'm a big fan of tables and charts myself. And I know folks like some certainty, particularly when it involves their money.

But I'm going to have to go with the IRS and its decision to no longer provide even quasi-specific refund delivery dates. Taxes, like life, can get complicated and mess up plans.

That's also why I'm reiterating the caution that the IRS makes in its current, revised Publication 2043, now known as Refund Information Guidelines for the Tax Preparation Community. It says there:

IRS caution re making refund delivery date promises_IRS Pub 2043

Urge taxpayers not to count on getting the refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay bills. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it's possible their tax return may require additional review and take longer.

You also might find these items of interest:



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wilma L Whitt

I filed January 16 and received a letter requesting more documentation in May and faxed all the documentation to them within 30 days and started calling to verify that they received the documentation and they did on july 12th and then started getting the run around till I received another letter requesting more documentation showing proof of residence and dependent verification. I faxed that to them within a week and now can’t get any one to answer the phone! I am so aggravated and angry. I called the taxpayers advocate services and they said they couldn’t help me unless I had a foreclosure or eviction! Really?

Whitney Knight

I filed on January 30th. I am still waiting for my return. I never got a letter in the mail or anything. But I did move after I filed. When I check the status of my refund all it says is processing. I'm very frustrated and can never get a person on the phone.


Been 60 days nothing yet still processing been filed since February 18 where is my money


FINALLY BEEN APPROVED!!! Start checking. Hopefully it’s happening for everyone!!

Angela Monique Britton

Stop with the political bs, honestly the whole government is crooked. Democrats, Republican, no difference. It's June I still don't have money or any word this is totally bs!!! I want answers and MY MONEY!

Tiffani Pool

Exactly the same thing happen to us. It's been 4 months. This is such crap. I am at a loss for words


I have never in my life had to wait this long for my refund. I got the letter like everyone else, waited my 60 days, called them on day 61, and now they're going to put in a referral which could take an additional 60 days! JULY!! Are you kidding me?? Where is the accountability for these people? Oh, wait, there isn't any. They can take our money in a second but I have to wait almost 7 months to get mine back. And, that's if I even get it in July.


Got the letter that said wait 60 days that was up on the 9th of this month so called back was told they will file a part and now I have to wait unother 60 days and if I don't get a phone call or letter to call them back. This is bullsh*t. If I owed them money I would have to pay intrest.

Shelly Mckee

Same boat as everyone else... if you received a letter that says wait 60 days I have a number for IRS to call. As long as it has been 60 days they will send to a different department and they are required to make a move. She did say it can take up to an additional 60 days but at this point at least we are moving... I hope here’s the number. 1800-906-9887

John W.

But remember, that refund is just your money that you are letting the government hold for you. And it isn’t earning you any interest. If you adjust your withholding values, more goes to you and less to the government during the year. And yes, I know there are exceptions, but if you are getting a regular salary you ought to be able to calculate out how much to have withheld. Not that I ever could figure it out, but my wife can.

And of course, you can also have the option to owe the government money and pay them as late as possible; meanwhile that money can be sitting in savings or some other financial arrangement earning interest.


We know who to blame only idiots would vote for idiots....thanks a bunch

James plante

Still waiting with no word from the low life feds..but if i owed them money they would have it in there hands asap..give me give me give me but when its on the other foot its no no no..and this is not trumps fault you fools. Do some research before you blab of at you sucker..its obamas 2015 act fault.


I am having a difficult time understanding why the mess that we are currently experiencing regarding our tax refund situation isn't getting any better. I can see wanted to ensure that money isn't lose due to fraud and what not, but the time involved has left me unable to get caught up with old bills and new ones are coming in full force which means another year struggling just to keep the necessities in tack. In my opinion this is so wrong on so many levels. I mean we can figure out simple task as it relates to spending more money for various reasons but not to help folks get their tax refunds faster so bills can be paid. I thought filing earlier and through turbo tax would be the ticket for one because turbo is cheaper than H&R Block sad I say

Faith Charity Hackney

I see now im feeling pissed lost my car over this bullshit... thanks for making me feel non alone though..


I’m in the same boat, extremely close to dropping deeper in depression. I filed the 29th of Jan thinking that if I submitted my return early I would naturally receive it faster, WRONG. Never received a letter until the first week of March stating it would be sorted out by MAY 5th WTF!!!!! I have now become deep in debt with interest rates raping my already depleted bank account and on the verge of going to jail as a result. As a single father and full time student this is absolute bulls*t and unfair to the middle and lower class american population. . .

The comments to this entry are closed.