Delays in State/Federal Tax Refunds: Here's Why

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) - Identity theft and fraud during tax season has become a growing issue across the country, including here in Arkansas. Because of that, people are getting their tax refunds a lot later than usual. 

During tax season, centers always expect a lot of calls and questions. 

But this time around, Care Community Center Director Kimberly Porter says one question is being asked more frequently, "where are my state and federal tax returns?"

"They're concerned. They're worried. They just want to make sure that they've done everything they need to do as taxpayers to be compliant," she explains. 

The majority of people who file their taxes get their returns within 21 days, but with a law passed last year they're coming in later than expected.

"There is a law that went into effect last year, that tax returns that have Earned Income Tax Credit or additional child tax credit are now not generally processed until the middle of February each year," says Porter.

The reason for the change is to fight fraud and identity theft.

But Porter says people should start seeing their federal refunds starting Feb. 27.

State refunds are also being affected.

"As fraud has grown, technology has allowed fraud to change," says Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

The department says they've implemented new steps to prevent fraud. 

"We have a variety of tools that allow us to make sure that Arkansans receive the check and it doesn't end up in the hands of someone else," Hardin adds. 

While it may be frustrating to have to wait, it's well worth it. 

"It may take a little bit longer now that we have these tools, but it really is in protection of Arkansans finances," says Hardin.

Click here to find out the status of your state tax refund. 

Click here to find out the status of your federal tax refund.

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