A new law designed to fight identity theft and fraud is threatening retail sales during the Super Bowl—as the tax refunds depended on by millions of low-income families are going out weeks later than usual.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is purposefully slowing the refunds for anyone who claims the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit in order to cut back on fraudsters taking advantage of the system.
Although taxpayers have already begun filing tax returns, the additional processing time means people who’ve claimed those tax credits won’t see any money back until February 27 at the earliest—22 days after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
As a consequence, some retailers and consumer-goods manufacturers are delaying some of their marketing to coincide with when the refunds go out. Walmart (WMT) and consumer-electronics and home-appliance retailer Hhgregg are among these businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal. The delay is also expected to hit impulse purchases connected to the Super Bowl commercials.