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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – Taxpayers who like to file early to get a quick turnaround of a refund may be disappointed this tax season.

In its effort to battle fraud, the IRS has a new strategy: Delay the refunds of filers who are more likely to take certain tax credits that are frequently claimed improperly or are the target of fraudulently filed returns.

New provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH) passed last year allows the IRS to hold off paying refunds to people who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Those refunds will be held until February 15, even if the returns were filed at the earliest date the IRS accepts them in January.

This delay may create a cash-flow headache for people who rely on a quick refund to help pay off their holiday bills. That could require making other arrangements, whether dipping into savings, tapping other sources of credit or simply curbing spending.

According to data from 2014 returns, about 26 million filers claim the EITC, and more than 20 million claim the ACTC. IRS information from these returns shows that a single filer with two children can earn up to $44,648 and receive some of the EITC. Joint filers with two children can get some of this credit with incomes as high as $50,198.

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