IRS Delays Refunds: Morning Business Memo

Some taxpayers who filed early this year may have to wait a week longer than expected to get their refunds. The IRS has been tweaking its computer systems to prevent refund fraud. A spokeswoman says the delay only affects taxpayers who filed returns before Jan. 26. Some file early to get their refunds as quickly as possible and urgently need the money to pay bills. H&R Block and TurboTax have posted notices to their customers about the delay. Taxpayers who file online can get more information from the "where's my refund" section at the IRS website.

Twenty-five of 27 European Union governments have agreed on a new pact to enforce tighter budget discipline in the Euro zone. They also accepted the terms of a permanent bailout fund. But talks in Greece still drag on. The government is haggling with private bondholders over a deal to reduce Greek debt.

Unemployment in the Euro zone ended last year at 10.4 percent - a new record high. The biggest increases came in Greece, Spain and Cyprus as all three made public sector layoffs and announced spending cuts. The highest unemployment is in Spain, where 22.9 percent of the working population were without work. By contrast, the jobless rate in Germany fell to 6.7 percent in January, according to separate figures. This is a record low since figures for unified Germany were first published.

The US Treasury Department is seeking to borrow $444 billion in the current quarter. The latest estimate of borrowing plans for the January-March period would make this quarter the fifth highest for government borrowing. That's because of the very large budget deficit.

Debt collection company crackdown: The Federal Trade Commission has announced a $2.5 million dollar settlement with Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. The company allegedly coerced borrowers into paying debts they no longer owed.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio