Refunds to filers claiming the Earned Income Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) may be delayed, due to fraud prevention measures enacted by the IRS. Refunds to taxpayers who did not claim these credits will not be delayed.
The section of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) that involves the EITC and ACTC is designed to help taxpayers receive the refund they are owed while preventing fraud. The law mandates that, beginning in 2017, no part of a credit or refund shall be made before February 15 to any taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC. When filing a 2018 return, the IRS has determined that mid-February 2019 is the earliest that taxpayers with this credit will receive their refund.
If you claim these credits, you can still complete and file your tax return when the filing update of TaxAct is released in early January. Doing so will help you stay at the front of the line once the IRS starts issuing refunds. Keep in mind that after the refund is issued, it still needs to be processed by your bank or other financial institution. It's unlikely your refund will arrive in your bank account or on a debit card before the first week in March (assuming your return has no processing issues and you elect direct deposit).
Note. If you don't claim the EITC or ACTC, there is no delay and the IRS will issue most refunds within 21 days of the return being accepted.
For more information please visit the IRS Newslink.