Call it the "Law of Unintended Consequences".
When Congress and the President had their little showdown over the "Fiscal Cliff", the IRS was forced to wait for the festivities to conclude before it could determine exact tax policy and print the appropriate forms.
Through Feb. 3, the agency sent out only about $4.3 billion in refunds, according to an analysis by Nicolas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group in new York in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
That??s far behind the $26.9 billion in refunds issued at this point in 2012. That??s a difference of $22.6 billion.
The IRS only began accepting returns from individual taxpayers on Jan. 30. And those with more complicated returns, like small business owners, won??t even be able to file for several more weeks because the applicable forms aren??t ready yet.
And the delays aren't just an annoyance...they could actually slow down the economy.
About 80 million filers, or 58% of the total, get money back each year, Colas wrote. The average refund is $2,927, or an entire month of take-home pay for a family earning the median annual income of $50,054 (assuming a 20% tax hit).
As Colas points out, $22.6 billion equates to 900,000 new cars at $25,000 each or 113,000 new homes at $200,000 each.
??This is real money to most American households,?? Colas wrote.
What's the status of your Federal Tax refund? Haven't filed...filed and waiting...or, money's in the bank. And what, if any, big plans do you have for that refund check?