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 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, 2022, 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 an 846 refund issued codes Friday, Feb. 18. And WMR updates Saturday, Feb.19. Everybody’s Where’s My Refund? statuses will change to a new status because the PATH hold releases at the end of the day (11:59:59pm) on February 15th. On the morning of Feb. 16, 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 11:59:59 on February 15th.

  • The computer will generate a personalized tax refund status for your tax situation around 3:30 am EST on February 16, 2022.

During the 2021 tax season, the first batch of Direct Deposit Dates started pouring in at 3:30 am Saturday, February 20, 2021, with an update for some of the early filers with daily and weekly accounts with 2/24 Direct Deposit Dates. Effective starting back in 2017 all major tax refund updates for both daily and weekly accounts claiming EITC or ACTC credits will see refund status updates on Saturday mornings. Starting the following week Saturday, February 27, 2021, the IRS returned to normal processing.

In 2021 the IRS said that the majority of the early filers would see a tax refund status update by The First Week of March. It took three batches of updates Saturday, Feb. 20, Saturday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Mar. 6 to push out a large 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 The First Week of March.

Mark your Calendars transcript updates Friday, February 18 and WMR updates Saturday, Febuary 19, 2022!

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