Certain cash-strapped consumers expecting a tax refund this year will be waiting longer than usual to get their funds because of a new IRS rule, prompting American Express Co. to expand the channels available to taxpayers looking to get their refund quickly through its Serve prepaid card.

Amex this year has added TaxSlayer to the list of tax preparation services offering to deliver tax refunds via Serve, which typically means consumers receive their funds up to two days sooner than other methods such as by check, according to an American Express spokesperson. Other tax-preparation services that continue to deliver refunds via Serve include Jackson Hewitt, TaxAct and Intuit Proconnect, she said.

Bloomberg News

Although most tax refunds are funded within 21 days of filing, the IRS earlier announced that for 2016 tax returns containing the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, refunds won’t be funded earlier than Feb. 15, 2017. The IRS cited processing issues as one of the factors influencing timing.

The move was in response to new federal provisions included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, the IRS said.

Amex is one of several prepaid card providers that's seen steady growth in recent years from taxpayers opting to receive refunds via prepaid cards, versus requesting a check or direct deposit. Evans, Ga.-based TaxSlayer offers a range of online tools for consumers and professional tax preparers.

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