PATH IRS Refund Payment Dates and Processing Delays For Tax Returns With EIC and ACTC Payments – Latest News And Updates

It looks like we are having a repeat of past years with tax refund payment delays impacting millions of American’s once again. While many of these delays are due to IRS processing backlogs from prior years the one that affects most people early in the tax season and who have already filed a return, is related to the PATH act.

2022 IRS PATH (w/EIC) Refund Direct Deposit Schedule

The IRS recently announced (see screenshot below) that WMR/IRS2Go will update by Feb 19th with expected refund payment dates for taxpayers who have filed electronically and claimed the EITC or ACTC.

Once processing is complete and the refund is approved, these early E-filers can expect to get their refund by March 1st. This is about two weeks later than the original Feb 15th PATH clearance date. Refunds will be processed in batches – see cycle code in your transcript to get an idea of your release date – so early filers will see their payments first.

Several filers have reported getting their direct deposit dates per the scheduled below. Paper checks generally take 5 to 7 days longer than direct deposit for IRS approved refunds.

PATH Refund (w/EITC and ACTC) Approved ByExpected Direct Deposit date range
Feb 19thFeb 22nd to Feb 24th
Feb 26thMarch 1st to March 3rd
March 5thMarch 8th to 10th
Will follow estimated IRS scheduleEvery week till end of April

Because everyone has a unique circumstance and various processing adjustments, some people are seeing updates early and have already received direct deposit payments ahead of schedule.

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.

IRS Path Refund Processing Issues

The PATH act lifted this week, but many folks are still seeing the “IRS is processing your return” message and no additional updates on their transcript. This is normal. The IRS is dealing with massive backlogs so PATH is only one reason things are delayed. Your return will be updated

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 CTC or Stimulus check credits didn’t reconcile) 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.

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

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The March 1st 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 see more in this video.

What does the PATH error message on IRS2Go or WMR mean?

The following error messages are what tax filers impacted by PATH delays would generally see on their IRS2Go app or Where is My Refund (WMR) App.

PATH Act Delays (IRS2Go)

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 (after Feb 15th).

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.

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.

Past PATH Freeze End and Refund Payment Dates

While the PATH act says returns claiming the EITC or CTC 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. These are the dates WMR and IRS2Go update with your refund status or payment date (also referred to as PATH Act returns)

Start of Tax SeasonExpected PATH End DateActual PATH End DateRefund Payment (1st Batch)
January 24, 2022February 15, 2022February 19, 2022 (est)March 1, 2022 (est)
February 12, 2021March 1, 2021March 4, 2021March 15, 2021
January 27, 2020February 16, 2020February 16, 2020February 27, 2020
PATH Act Refund Dates

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.

It 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 as a placeholder for all tax returns that have claimed these credits until February 15. You can see more around the 152 notice here.

Once the PATH LAW lifts on February 16 your personalized refund status will return to the Where’s My Refund? tool and will update accordingly.

Anybody that files an early tax return, claiming these 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. The IRS will not release those refunds until after February 15th.

So if your return was processed successfully (return approved status) your payment will be send shortly on or after Feb 16th. Otherwise the IRS will process the return in normal order.

It also does not mean your refund is approved and your refund could be held for other reasons based on IRS reviews.

See this video for more around the PATH act induced delays this year.

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.

Are there PATH Delays for Childless Workers claiming EIC?

Under the ARPA bill the Earned Income tax credit was tripled for childless workers. This was to offset the fact they would not benefit from the expanded child tax credit. This means a lot of workers with no children are now claiming the EIC.

However, a few forums and Facebook pages have said the PATH act delay does not apply to them, which is not congruent with the IRS page guidance which indicates all returns with these credits get held up (for 3 weeks)

So after some research the consensus is that those who are seeing a refund payment before the PATH act was lifted were in fact just getting an advance refund loan from their tax software provider (e.g. TurboTax or H&R Block). This advance refund payment is not the IRS refund.

It is just a service (free or sometimes charged) by these tax software providers who are confident you will get you refund. They will reconcile the refund you actually get from the IRS and adjust payment accordingly. Should your tax refund be lower than expected and lower than the refund loan you will be obligated to pay back the difference.

PATH Act provision per IRS

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20 thoughts on “PATH IRS Refund Payment Dates and Processing Delays For Tax Returns With EIC and ACTC Payments – Latest News And Updates”

  1. 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??

  2. 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??

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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!!

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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).

  10. 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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