tax news, IRS — January 25, 2017

Your State Income Tax Refund May Be Delayed This Year

by Bob Williams

A woman using a laptop in a café

Looking for 2018 delays? Head to our most recent post on state refund delays here.

You may already know that many federal refunds won’t be processed until at least February 15, 2017, because of provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (also known as the PATH Act). What you may not know is that some state refunds will be delayed too.

While the federal refund delay applies specifically to returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), state delays may affect all taxpayers in that particular state, whether they claim refundable credits or not. Here are the states to take special note of, from our informal survey of state revenue websites:

Arkansas – One of the states that doesn’t mention a firm timeframe, Arkansas’ Department of Finance and Administration says only that “certain refunds” may be delayed for security reasons.

Colorado – Their website warns that state refunds may be delayed up to 60 days beyond the normal time to get a refund.

Delaware – Some states went with a definite start date. Delaware, for example, won’t process any returns until the week of Feb. 20. Measure your refund arrival accordingly.

Georgia – The Peach State is telling taxpayers to allow 90 business days before expecting to actually receive a state refund.

Iowa – The state will follow the IRS schedule of holding EITC return refunds until early March.

Kentucky – All individual income tax refunds are delayed until after Feb. 15.

Louisiana – Processing for e-filed individual income tax refunds could take as long as 60 days to complete.

A woman typing on a laptop

Massachusetts – Taxpayers have been alerted that state tax refunds may take four to six weeks to process.

Mississippi – Sometimes the general warning works best, as shown by the Mississippi Department of Revenue website: “DOR does not guarantee a specific date that a refund will be deposited into a taxpayer's financial account.”

Minnesota – The Minnesota Department of Revenue site contains only the caution that some returns may take longer to process: “Returns may take longer to process because of the increase in attempted refund fraud due to scams, stolen personal information and identity theft. The department will take the time necessary to review returns to make sure taxpayer dollars are not getting into the hands of criminals.”

Montana – E-Filed returns will take four weeks to process.

North Carolina – Individual tax returns are expected to take an average of at least six weeks to be processed, but it could be longer.

New Jersey – Leaving no question, Jersey says it won’t even start processing state tax returns until after March 1.

New Mexico – State tax refunds could take up to 12 weeks to be released, depending on when the return is filed.

Virginia – Refunds from e-filed returns could take up to four weeks before they’re pushed out.

Vermont – State returns will be processed beginning the first week of February.

West Virginia – Taxpayers may have to wait up to four weeks after they’ve e-filed to see any refunds.

Yes, it’ll be a bit longer before some of you get your refund money. Here's why: Because the EITC and ACTC are refundable, they’re a common target for fraudulent and improper claims. And the threat of tax-related identity theft is real. The IRS and your state need a bit more time to catch the cheats and fraudsters, so the delay is only with your best interests in mind. We’ll talk more about the EITC on Friday, so stay tuned!

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