2024 PATH Act IRS Refund Release and Payment Dates For Tax Returns With EIC and ACTC Payments – Latest News And Updates

[Updated with 2024 Refund Release Dates] Early tax filers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) may experience a payment delay or freeze in their refund until late February due to the PATH Act.

What is the PATH act?

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) was enacted by Congress a few years ago and specifies that the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) — until at least three weeks after the IRS starts processing returns. This is normally around mid-February.

The additional time is to allow the IRS to perform fraud checks and limit refunds from being issued to identity thieves or stop fraudulent claims with fabricated wages, dependents and withholdings.

Because these are fully refundable credits, in that no tax liability is needed to get to get these credits, additional checks are required to ensure they are being paid correctly and for eligible dependents.

Unfortunately due to the backlog of returns and expansion of these credits during the pandemic, the delay in paying PATH impacted refunds has been longer than three weeks.

Also remember, if you don’t get the refundable portion of the CTC, known as the ACTC, you won’t be subject to PATH. This is why some tax payers see their refund early when only eligible for the standard or non-refundable component on the CTC.

According to the PATH Act, the IRS cannot Issue Refunds before mid-February

The following message, or minor variants of it, are what tax filers impacted by PATH delays would generally see when checking their refund status on IRS2Go or WMR. There is no reason to panic if you see this message – it is normal early in the tax season.

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This is the standard IRS message for filers claiming the EITC and/or ACTC (which is different to the standard CTC). See below for how this impacts you and expected dates when impacted refunds will be released this year.

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PATH Act Refund Delay Message
PATH Act Refund Delay Message

IRS PATH (w/EIC) Refund Direct Deposit Schedule

The IRS will likely lift the Path ACT and provide refund payment status’ on IRS2Go and WMR from February 17th, 2024.

The first round of PATH held refund payments will start to hit bank or debit card accounts from February 22nd (based on the latest updates) and will likely be sent via direct deposit by February 27th.

Initial payments will be for taxpayers who have filed electronically and selected a direct deposit payment method for their refund. Once processing is complete and the refund is approved, these early E-filers can expect to get their refund by within a few days per the table below.

Refunds will be processed in batches – see cycle code in your transcript to get an idea of your release date – so early filers with no other tax return issues will generally see their payments first.

Estimated direct deposit dates are shown in the table below – with payment normally 3 to 5 days after the refund is approved. Paper checks generally take 5 to 7 days longer than direct deposit for IRS approved refunds.

Approved and paid refunds are depicted by code 846 on your transcript or shown in refund sent status on WMR/IRS2Go with your personalized IRS refund issued date. Your transcript may update sooner than WMR for future payment dates. See more in the sections below.

I will update dates through tax season and you can subscribe to get the latest updates.

PATH Held Refund Status UpdatedDirect Deposit Payment Week
By Feb 17Feb 20 to Feb 24
By Feb 24Feb 24 to Feb 29
By March 2March 4 to March 8
By March 9March 11 to March 16
Will follow estimated IRS schedule
Approval and Payment can happen anytime during the week

Because everyone has a unique circumstance and various processing adjustments, some people will see updates early and get their direct deposit payments ahead of schedule.

Also remember to try and get your refund payment via Direct Deposit, which the IRS’s recommends as the fastest and most secure method.

You can leave a comment below this article with your situation and I can try and answer it (or see others in a similar situation). Subscribe below to get the latest updates

You are lucky if early, but don’t be shocked if takes several days after the estimated dates to get your refund. See more in this recent YT video update for PATH updates.

IRS updates on PATH Refund Processing

The IRS has published the following guidance around the PATH act this year per their EIC webpage. But it is important to remember the two key dates around your refund status versus the actual date you get your money.

There are 2 different event dates to keep in mind with the IRS PATH refund freeze. First, is your WMR/IRS2Go refund status, which will update by Feb 17, or sooner.

Your actual refund will be paid or direct deposited by Feb 27th. In most cases refund payments will come a few days earlier.

2024 IRS Path Update (Feb 17 vs Feb 27)
2024 IRS Path Update (Feb 17 vs Feb 27)

IRS Path Refund Processing and your Transcript

Even after the PATH act lifts, many folks will still see the “IRS is processing your return” message and no additional updates on their transcript. This is normal based on past year experiences. The IRS is continuing to deal with massive tax filing backlogs so PATH is only one reason things are delayed.

Further, just because the PATH act has lifted, don’t assume your return and refund was approved. There could be other processing issues (e.g. your claimed credits didn’t reconcile with IRS records) which may further delay your refund check or direct deposit.

You will see this generally reflected via Tax Code 570 (Return Reconciliation) or TC 203/898 (BFS offset) in transcript.

However if you see code 846 (refund issued) on your transcript with a current or future date, then that is good news! It means your PATH held refund has been approved and will be paid once the PATH act lifts and IRS can legally send payments.

The initial PATH refund release date also assumes a direct deposit payment method and the overall return is approved. I.e no issues preventing refund release). You can also see more in this video.

Past PATH Freeze End and Refund Payment Dates

While the PATH act says returns claiming the EITC or ACTC should be held for up to 3 weeks after the start of the tax season (when IRS accepts returns), IRS backlogs and other complications have meant that the actual release of approved refund has been longer than that.

The table below shows the expected vs actual dates the PATH act freeze was lifted in past seasons. These are the dates WMR and IRS2Go update with your refund status or payment date (also referred to as PATH Act returns). So expect a similar, albeit improving trend this year.

Start of Tax SeasonExpected PATH End DateActual PATH End DateRefund Payment Started By
January 29, 2024February 17, 2024February 16, 2024February 22, 2024
January 23, 2023February 18, 2023February 16, 2023February 22, 2023
January 24, 2022February 15, 2022February 19, 2022March 1, 2022
February 12, 2021March 1, 2021March 4, 2021March 15, 2021
January 27, 2020February 16, 2020February 16, 2020February 27, 2020
PATH Act Refund Dates

To get the latest updates on the PATH act every season and every year, consider subscribing (free) via the the options below.

Does the PATH ACT Mean my Refund is Approved?

The PATH message does not mean your tax return is done and your tax refund is approved. Your refund could be held for other reasons based on IRS reviews.

Being a “PATHer” simply means the IRS systems have identified you are claiming the (EITC) or the (ACTC) on your tax return, and so further processing and payments related to your refund are held up for the statutory hold period.

The WMR or IRS2Go app uses the PATH Message (see section above) as a placeholder for all tax returns that have claimed these credits until freeze is lifted by the IRS.

Once the PATH LAW lifts your personalized refund status will be shown on the Where’s My Refund? IRS tool and on your IRS transcript (on code 846 refund issued line).

Anybody that files an early tax return, claiming the EITC or ACTC tax credits will be processed as soon as you file them. However any refund that would be due for those returns claiming one or both of these credits will be delayed until the PATH act lifts.

Does the PATH act affect my state tax refund?

Technically no, since this is a federal act directed at the IRS. However given how intertwined your state and federal tax return is when it comes to income, exemptions, deductions and dependents it is rare to see them filed separately.

It is however common that if both your state and federal are filed accurately, your state refund could be approved and paid well before your federal refund from the IRS.

If there are discrepancies in the future with your federal return, your state tax agency will send you a notice seeking further explanation and likely recoup any underpayments in subsequent years. If they owe you more, you’ll get a check back for the additional refund.

State agencies may have different rules and guidance so I recommend checking their websites for official guidance.

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36 thoughts on “2024 PATH Act IRS Refund Release and Payment Dates For Tax Returns With EIC and ACTC Payments – Latest News And Updates”

  1. Me and my wife filed early February via direct deposit. However the IRS KEEPS sending us letters telling us they need another 60 days . They would not elaborate on why they were taking so long nor would they give me any information as to when I might possibly receive my direct deposit. How long will this continue? My wife and I are both American tax payers and our taxes have never been audited . Why are they holding the information and not communicating as to why .

  2. I really don’t understand the PATH Act. All of our taxes went up under Biden. I claimed the EIC and PATH act has 3 dates if filed early. I know it sucks because of inflation but refunds for early filers that falls under the PATH act will get their refunds under the Batch 1, 2, and 3 schedule and if you file on March 7 than you fall on the regular refund schedule from the IRS. Also, be prepared the refund amount that states what you are receiving maybe lower that what it is

  3. PATH has been lifted, but its still showing when I check the refund status. I filed on January 24 and it was accepted the day of Jan 24th, but others have a status now and know when they get their refund.

    • I filed mine on January 23rd,first it had an accepted bar then went to the PATH paragraph..and now when I check it’s still saying the same thing..Shoot if path has been lifted then those of us who filed earlier should be the first to know when we got our money deposited..

      • Girl!! Wys !! Tags it tells me that Mom was accepted on the 15th of January and that the IRS accepted it on the 17th I had one bar and then when the path that came through I’ve still have the path act when I go on IRS to my transcript it tells me the 27th is my processing date which should be today so if it doesn’t come today I don’t know what else to do but try to contact the IRS because last year mom was here before then and I always file early every year so if it’s just a glitch this year then I guess it’s just a glitch but it really pisses me off that you file early to get your money early and like you said we don’t get our money

  4. I filled and I didn’t claim EIC but I did have to fill out the form for health insurance and they have me under the PATH act. Is it because I got health insurance last year?

      • That is just the message that comes up for Tax topic 152 so there are other reasons it’s being held other than just Those two reasons which the rest are missing information or something spelled incorrect..You can log into your irs acct And pull ur tax record transcript and see the codes they have put and u get the reason it is being held

  5. I filed 01/25, no EIC, just dependents, it showed accepted, approved and even refunded to bank by 05/06. Now site says take action and call. My transcript shows codes that it was refunded and rejected by bank. I called IRS today, she said those codes mean nothing on my transcript, that my account is frozen because of the PATH act, I filed to early. How in the world did they send my refund, it shows on 05/03, refund sent, 05/06 refund cancelled. So they sent it, realized they shouldn’t have, then cancelled it, and now it’s on hold?? Isn’t that their fault for sending it early? Not mine for filing? I have always been told you can file but it won’t be accepted until a certain date. So IRS told me you aren’t suppose to file till after 02/15 or they can freeze it.. told me it may be months now… and why.. cause they made an error and sent it early? Unbelievable!

    • Hmm…strange. You can file anytime after Jan 1st. But IRS only started processing after Jan 23rd. Are you sure this is for your 2022 return and not a prior year or amended return?

      You also may have been flagged for id or security checks which freezes your return.

  6. I had to mail my taxes this year because it would not accept my AGI, I went through turbo tax, Mailed on January 29 2022, shows nothing, got my state in record time. Calling the phone number to talk to a human is a joke, how do I know they even recieved it??

  7. I filed on 1/27/22, IRS accepted on 1/27…Got a notice on wmr telling me to reference number 1121 when I called… took 3 weeks to get a human only to tell me I wasn’t even in my timeframe and that the reason I couldn’t get an update was because I checked wmr too much!?? Then I got a letter last week saying they had adjusted my refund due to the recovery rebate but it didn’t change the amount WHATSOEVER! There wasn’t anything to correct or adjust but now they say another 4 to 6 weeks before I’ll receive my refund! So sick of them holding my money! Kept me strung along ALL year last year waiting for my 3rd stimulus and now this!! Can anybody suggest a way to get my $$$$ before June??

    • What does IRS reference number 1121 mean? The reference number means that your return is being reviewed. there is a system that automatically flags returns when something is out of the ordinary, and the return will be queued for review by a human. This can or cannot result in more investigation by the IRS.

      • See this article for what code 1121 means your refund is frozen due to outstanding Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return. This means the IRS is likely doing to do an offset on your refund which will lower or eliminate.

        Because it may require a manual review the processing could take longer than the standard 21 days

  8. I EFILED on January 26th and was accepted on January 27,2022,I do have direct deposit and the EITC,mine has been on still proscessing for 3 weeks, march 1st came and went, still being proscessed, with tt 152 at the bottom,I have received no letters,no messages requesting more information, nothing, no bars,heading for homelessness,I don’t think they really care what we are going through, I don’t have a clue as far as transcrips go,I am very computer illiterate,,the tax place I efiled with has no phone number, makes you pay for even messages for help, I am at my wits end,55,and very desperate and I’ll woman here.

  9. Filed 2/3 on turbotax, return received and accepted per turbo tax same day, stated I would receive my refund on 2/24. Filed both EIC and CTC, never have had issues in the past but I do know that IRS is backed up I just assumed I would have at-least received it by 3/1. I received my state refund on 2/15, WMR just states the “we apologize your refund as been delayed past normal timeframe, continue to check back for more information, we understand your refund is important to you, etc. etc.” message and give the general tax info 152 code. I don’t understand if there isn’t any issues why mine is taking so long for DD. I seen a lot of schedules stating that another PATH batch is being sent out tomorrow 3/4 and i’m crossing my fingers mine is in my bank account tomorrow but still confused as to why it is taking so long when people have already received theres.

    • Girll yes. Same. Filed on 2/3 with TurboTax. And I claimed the EITC. And nothing yet. I’m irritated. So hopefully tomorrow. And the next batch is
      March 11th.

  10. I filed on 01/28/22. Return was accepted, but then the bars on WMR disappeared. WMR only states that my return is processing and a refund date will be provided when available. No tax topic codes. I also have N/A on my 2021 IRS transcripts. I did claim the EITC/ACTC. I also had twins in 2021. Could they be the reason my refund is being delayed? Any information would be extremely helpful!!!

  11. I’m extremely frustrated.. I filed on 2/4 thru H&R Block.. IRS received it same day.. I have N/A by my 2021 transcript and now I have no bars on wmr just a message apologizing stating its taking longer than the 21 day time frame to process my refund?!! What does this mean?? Can’t get anyone on phone with IRS.. plz help!!

  12. I submitted my returns on 2/7 and they were recieved the next day. Since then, the bars on WMR have disappeared, and it states my refund is still being processed. On my transcript my cycle number is 20220805, with a processing date of March 14, 2022. On my transcript if you scroll down, I have a code 766 with a dollar amount, a code 768 with a dollar amount, both with dates 4-15-2022. Then I have codes 971 and 570 with a 0 dollar amount with date 3-14-2022, which is the same as my processing date. We get the Child Tax Credit and EITC, but all of these future dates are so confusing. Does anyone have any idea what it means?

  13. So I filed on the 24th and my transcript shows 570 2/3/2022.
    I was reading comments online and only people who filed before the 24th have reported DDs.
    I’m confused though is code 570 standard for all EIC filer’s until they have a DD date?

  14. I filed my taxes for child tax credit on January 29 2022 and I checked it today on WMR tool and it’s saying they can’t provide any information can you tell me what’s going on?

    • Just ongoing processing delays as they reconcile amounts and try and get through manual verification for EIC/CTC items that don’t reconcile with payments made last year. Will likely take some time to clear. See a couple of recent articles I wrote on this (just go to the home page).

  15. 3:54PM CST. The IRS just sent out a press release. The IRS Where’s My Refund tool will not update for those that still have the PATH act message. It will begin updating WMR on March 16th through March 18th for the vast majority of EITC/ACTC taxpayers.


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