Late Tax Refunds Could Mean Fewer People Watching Super Bowl On New TVs

Image courtesy of Phillip Pessar

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that millions of tax refunds may be delayed this year as the agency tries to combat fraud. Some experts say this delay could have an unintended consequence: fewer new TVs tuned in to this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Americans don’t just buy new TVs in time for the Super Bowl because the Big Game looks better on a Big Screen. It’s also because people who have simple tax returns and all of their documents in order can have a refund check in their pocket by the end of January, and TV bargains timed for the Super Bowl make that a good time to buy one, even if you don’t like football or funny commercials.

However, this year, the IRS is complying with a new law meant to prevent refund identity theft, and that means taxpayers, especially recipients of the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit, won’t be getting their refunds until the end of this month.

The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers are even keeping this in mind when they design their promotions: Spokespeople for Walmart and Hhgregg confirmed that they’re adjusting their usual promotions around when tax refunds are actually expected to go out. Walmart plans to delay online marketing until later in February, and Hhgregg plans to promote financing options for people who are expecting refunds.

Is it the sale or the prospect of having a new TV in time for the game that leads people to go shopping? Retailers will find out over the next 48 hours, and when those refunds finally do arrive.