WASHINGTON – The federal government ran another budget deficit in February, and the gap would have been bigger if tax refunds had been processed faster.
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The Treasury Department reports that the deficit came in at $192 billion last month, little-changed from a $192.6 billion deficit in February 2016. This year's budget hole would have been deeper. But the Internal Revenue Service is required by a new law to delay tax refunds to those who file for the earned income tax credit while it looks for fraud. The credit reduces taxes or provides refunds to low-income Americans.
For the first five months of the fiscal year, the deficit — the gap between the government's revenues and spending — came in at $349 billon, down from $351.3 billion a year earlier.