The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act was created in order to protect taxpayers and their families against fraud and permanently extend many expiring tax laws. The law, which was enacted on December 18, 2015, first impacted tax returns filed starting in 2017 and will continue to impact all future tax returns until the law is overturned or changed.

The PATH Act mandates that the IRS can not issue ANY refund on tax returns claiming credits such as EIC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and/or ACTC (Additional Child Tax Credit) until After February 15th each year.

All current-year tax returns that claim EIC and/or ACTC filed before February 15, 2024, will contain a C- Freeze on the account, to hold the refund.

Prior to February 15th, the refund cannot be released for any reason:

  • Not even by inputting any type of adjustment to the account
  • Not even due to hardship (hardships will not be considered as long as the C- freeze is on the account). This includes the part of the refund that is not associated with the EITC or ACTC.

What if I never got the PATH Message?

Those refunds will be issued after your return completes processing, provided you owe no other liability.

What if I file after February 15th?

If you file taxes after February 15, the PATH ACT Hold does not affect the timing of your tax refund. Those refunds will be issued after your return completes processing, provided you owe no other liability.

Will I receive a Direct Deposit Date on February 16 when the PATH Message lifts from WMR?


Taxpayers receiving the first round of deposits will see tax transcripts updated with 846 refund-issued codes Friday, February 16, 2024. And WMR updates Saturday, February 17, 2024. Everybody’s Where’s My Refund? statuses will change to a new status because the PATH holds releases at the end of the day (23:59:59) on Thursday, February 15, 2024. On the morning of February 17, 2024, most people will see the Being Processed screen until they receive further information or two bars with a Direct Deposit Date.

Why did my refund status change back to a processing message?

Everybody’s Where’s My Refund? will update with a personalized tax refund status once the PATH hold comes to a close at 23:59:59 on February 15th.

  • The computer will generate a personalized tax refund status for your tax situation between 12:01- 3:30 am EST on February 17, 2024.

Recap of the 2023 PATH ACT LAW Lift on February 16, 2023

During the 2023 tax season, the IRS implemented several changes. Unlike previous years, where the PATH refund status would be removed on February 16, in 2023, the IRS extended the PATH Refund Status until Saturday, February 17, 2023. This adjustment aimed to reduce the anxiety experienced by many taxpayers who were concerned about the lack of immediate updates once the PATH message lifted.

In 2023, some taxpayers received notifications from their banks or cards as early as February 16, 2023, informing them that their TREASURY DIRECT DEPOSIT had been posted to their accounts. This highlights the variability in timelines, emphasizing the importance of monitoring account activity for updates and sharing any positive developments within our community.

The IRS announced that the majority of early filers in 2023 would see a tax refund status update by February 28, 2023. It required a few batches of updates on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2024, and Saturday, Mar. 4, 2024, to process a significant number of early filers’ tax refunds.

The PATH message this year reads that the majority of early filers held under the PATH hold should see an update by February 27, 2024.

First three refund batches for 2024

  • Transcripts Friday, February 16, WMR Saturday, February 17 – Direct Deposit Date 2/22/24
  • Transcripts Friday, February 23, WMR Saturday, February 24 – Direct Deposit Date 2/28/24
  • Transcripts Friday, MArch 1, WMR Saturday, March 2 – Direct Deposit Date 3/6/24

Remember that some taxpayers may get a deposit in their bank before receiving any updates on Where’s My Refund? So, after February 15th has passed, keep an eye on your bank as your direct deposit can be credited to your account at any time.

Mark your Calendars transcript updates Friday, February 16, 2024, and Where’s My Refund? updates Saturday, February 17, 2024!

IRS PATH ACT Tax Refund Status – FAQs

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