By Jon Delano

PITTSBUGH (KDKA) — Monday, Jan. 23, is the first day that the Internal Revenue Service begins to process those tax returns due from all of us on April 15.

Many file early to get a refund back quickly, but this year, some early filers will experience a delay.

Around 153 million tax returns will be filed between now and April 15, and most of those who file early do so to get a refund.

“Most refunds, nine out of 10, will get to taxpayers in 21 days or less,” IRS spokesperson Raphael Tulino told KDKA money editor Jon Delano, “however…”

It’s that “however” that is causing a wrinkle during this tax season.

Congress put a brief hold on refunds for anyone who claimed the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.

“It requires the IRS to hold the refund until Feb. 15. Behind the scenes, we want and need the extra time to continue to use our screens and filters and protectors to be sure we are only sending out legitimate refunds,” says Tulino.

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Tulino says Congress worried that these two refundable tax credits are being requested fraudulently.

“We need the extra time to make sure that we’re only sending out the money that is legitimate.”

The Earned Income Tax Credit averages around $2,400 per eligible family.

Those not claiming that particular credit should have no delay in getting refunds.

Once again, the IRS is also offering free tax software for those making $64,000 or less.

“IRS FreeFile, which is available at http://www.IRS.gov only, is a partnership between IRS and a dozen tax software companies.”

Not into technology?

Then take advantage of free tax assistance locally through the VITA program.

“Free income tax preparation for low to moderate income taxpayers, $54,000 or less.”

And once you file — and your refund seems delayed — check out “Where’s my Refund” at www.IRS.gov.

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