Why do I have the PATH message on IRS Where’s my Refund?

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.

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What Others Are Saying:

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  1. LPL

    Filed 1/22
    Accepted 1/23
    Changed to PATH message 1/28

    My WMR states:

    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 associated with these credits.

    I don’t have anything in the amount area on the side, and the 152 message. Should I be worried?

    Reply
  2. Sheila_33
    • Tax Preparer:
      freetaxUSA
    • Fees:
      Free
    • State:
      Florida
    • Filing Date:
      Jan-6
    • Date Accepted:
      Jan-13
    • Bank or Prepaid:
      Bluebird
    • Date Approved:
      Feb-22
    • Direct Deposit Date:
      Feb-24
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit, Schedule C
    • TT 152, Weekly

    @Lisa F: You’re welcome. Good luck, hopefully its a glitch on their end.

    Reply
  3. Sheila_33
    • Tax Preparer:
      freetaxUSA
    • Fees:
      Free
    • State:
      Florida
    • Filing Date:
      Jan-6
    • Date Accepted:
      Jan-13
    • Bank or Prepaid:
      Bluebird
    • Date Approved:
      Feb-22
    • Direct Deposit Date:
      Feb-24
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit, Schedule C
    • TT 152, Weekly

    @Lisa F: Sorry for your loss, hun. My best advice is to call tomorrow as soon as the Irs opens and see if a customer rep can give you some insight on why that might have changed. Let us know as soon as you hear anything.

    Reply
  4. Lisa F

    @Sheila_33: I’m sorry,I can’t find my 2017 returns. I don’t know for some reason on Intuit I can’t pull up last return of 2017. My mom worked for HR Block and passed 2017, this is only my 2nd time doing my own. I have done other ppls taxes many times.

    Reply
  5. Sheila_33
    • Tax Preparer:
      freetaxUSA
    • Fees:
      Free
    • State:
      Florida
    • Filing Date:
      Jan-6
    • Date Accepted:
      Jan-13
    • Bank or Prepaid:
      Bluebird
    • Date Approved:
      Feb-22
    • Direct Deposit Date:
      Feb-24
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit, Schedule C
    • TT 152, Weekly

    @Lisa F: Makes me wonder if they are looking at something since you didn’t file for 2 years. Its possible they could have flagged it. If it was me, I think I would try to have it faxed by talking to a csr. If she can’t fax them, it possibly could be id verify. I would definitely call as early as possible tomorrow and try to talk to somebody because this is very unusual. You said, you couldn’t find anything but 2018 tax returns, what do you mean? If you haven’t filed in 2 years?

    Reply
  6. Lisa F

    @Sheila_33: I have been trying to get my transcripts online. I haven’t filed in 2 yrs. I have used my old address (just moved in June) and tried my new address. Was locked out yesterday and today I tried 2x, still telling me “doesnt match our records”? I dont want to get locked out again today. When I moved, I can find everything but 2018 tax returns, any suggestions?

    Reply
  7. Sheila_33
    • Tax Preparer:
      freetaxUSA
    • Fees:
      Free
    • State:
      Florida
    • Filing Date:
      Jan-6
    • Date Accepted:
      Jan-13
    • Bank or Prepaid:
      Bluebird
    • Date Approved:
      Feb-22
    • Direct Deposit Date:
      Feb-24
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit, Schedule C
    • TT 152, Weekly

    @Lisa F: I saw your post earlier and was surprised because that’s definitely not normal. Are you able to see your transcripts?

    Reply
  8. Lisa F

    @Sheila_33: Yes. I received the PATH ACT message on WMR and the same from H&R Block 1/29/2020.
    2/3/2020 I went to check status on WMR, says “Your refund is still being processed. Please check back”. It seems backwards from other ppl and comments.

    Reply
  9. Sheila_33
    • Tax Preparer:
      freetaxUSA
    • Fees:
      Free
    • State:
      Florida
    • Filing Date:
      Jan-6
    • Date Accepted:
      Jan-13
    • Bank or Prepaid:
      Bluebird
    • Date Approved:
      Feb-22
    • Direct Deposit Date:
      Feb-24
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit, Schedule C
    • TT 152, Weekly

    @Lisa F: so you updated to the path message, and it was replaced with a still processing message?

    Reply
  10. Lisa F

    Filed 1/27 accepted 1/28 received PATH ACT message 1-2 days later. Now I have no bars and message your refund is still processing please check back? I haven’t filed in a few years. Does anyone receive these in this order? Im srry if its a stupid question, first time posting. Ty

    Reply
  11. June8

    @Td: I don’t know what is on mine because i got mine done professionally and mine says the same thing.

    Reply
  12. Td

    I did not have any values in the lines they are talking about. But I have the Path message. There is a No beside it.

    Reply
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