By Kate Samuelson
March 10, 2017

More than 5.5 million fewer Americans have filed their tax returns this year than at a comparable point in 2016, according to data released by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The total number of returns received has decreased from 66.7 million to 61 million, an 8.5% drop, the data shows. It’s unclear whether the reason for this decrease is to do with the current political environment or whether it is merely procrastination.

Another theory is that Congress’ passing of the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act 1, a provision that will delay refunds for millions of taxpayers who file for two popular credits aimed at helping low-income workers in order to prevent fraud and theft, has led to the drop.

“A lot of early season filers want their money and want their money fast,” Piper Jaffray analyst George Tong told Bloomberg. Knowing that refunds will be delayed “throws a wrench into consumer behavior.”

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