IRS behind on issuing tax refunds, analysis finds


Los Angeles Times

Don’t worry if you haven’t received your expected IRS tax refund. Most people haven’t — and the fiscal cliff is to blame.

The Internal Revenue Service is far behind its normal pace in processing federal tax returns and mailing billions of dollars in refunds, according to a new report.

Through Feb. 3, the agency sent out only about $4.3 billion in refunds, according to the analysis by Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group in New York.

That’s far behind the $26.9 billion in refunds issued at this point in 2012.

This year’s delay is an unwelcome byproduct of Congress’ acrimonious standoff over the “fiscal cliff” at the end of last year, according to Colas. The IRS had to wait for the year-end jockeying to conclude before it could determine exact tax policy and print the appropriate forms.

The agency only began accepting returns from individual taxpayers on Jan. 30. And those with more complicated returns — such as small businesses claiming depreciation credits and families with educational write-offs — won’t even be able to file for several more weeks because the applicable forms aren’t ready yet.