by Marty Carlson


The Associated Press reported the Internal Revenue Service is delaying tax refund for about 40 million low income families this year. The agency says it is stepping up efforts to fight identity theft and fraud.

It will affect families that it claim the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. These are tax breaks geared to benefit the working poor and many families time both.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated that he is sensitive to the fact that this is an important and probably biggest check these people will get all year. But he also stated that new laws require the IRS to delay tax refunds for people claiming these credits until February 15. Processing times will delay most of the refunds until the end of February.

The delay is supposedly to give the agency more time to screen the returns for fraud.

The government agency estimates that it issued $3.1 billion in fraudulent tax return so identity thieves in 2014. The year before it says it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent returns.

The earned income tax credit is one of the agency’s biggest anti-poverty programs, but they claim and has been plagued by billions and improper claims and payments to fraud every year.

The agency said that they have had to get more aggressive in screening tax returns because the crooks have become increasingly sophisticated through technology. In many of them are on a international level.