The federal government ran another budget deficit in February, and the gap would have been bigger if tax refunds had been processed faster.
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.
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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.