If you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) you will have values on Form 1040 Lines 18a and/or 18b. If you claimed these credits, your refund is subject the the PATH Act. When you check the status of your tax refund on the IRS Where’s My Refund tool, you with see the PATH message until after February 15th.
To see if you claimed these credits, look at your 1040.
Look on Page 2 of the 1040
Line 18a – EIC
Line 18b – ACTC
PATH Act Status message
What is the Path Act?
The Protecting American From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act is a law that was enacted in 2015. Part of the PATH Act affects those filing with Earned Income Credit (EIC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) as those refunds cannot be issued prior to February 15th.
According to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. This applies to the entire refund, even the portion not associate with these credits. Check Where’s My Refund in mid- to late February for your personalized refund status. It’s updated once a day and remains the best way to check the status of your refund.
You can read more about the Path Act here.