KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's a familiar cry for people expecting tax refunds: "Where's my money?"
But this year, more people may be wondering where their tax refund is, as the Internal Revenue Service says that newly-installed filters to prevent tax fraud and identity theft have held up processing for a week or more, and an online "Where's my Refund" tracking tool has not been working.
The delay is not good news for young adults starting out on their own, like Abigail McCaulley.
"It's a big deal because a lot of us go pay check to pay check.That money is a big part of what you make during the year, so you have to have it," said McCaulley.
But many of those people who have already filed their income taxes by the end of the first week of February haven't received their refunds yet - even though they should have gotten them by now. According to the IRS, the processing delays could mean up to an extra two weeks before taxpayers see their refunds.
"It just puts people in a really tough situation," said McCaulley. "Especially since everything going on economically, it's really hard for them to pay they need to pay. They rely on that money."
Steve Lyddon of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service says that he is just now getting refund checks for customers who should have received them weeks ago. Compounding the problems, Lyddon says that the IRS "Where's My Refund?" online tracker has not been working, giving only error messages instead of updates on their refund status.
Lyddon says that he thinks the IRS processing is finally getting back up to speed, but he says that those who haven't yet filed their tax returns may want to move their timetable up a week to ensure that they get their money when they need it.
"(The IRS is) trying to convert to a new system, they have the old system as backup and for those files that started out in one system, they may have tried to run it through the old system," said Lyddon. "That delays the processing."
The delays have affected all tax preparers, including those who use software to prepare their tax returns themselves.