What does the PATH message mean?

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What does the PATH message mean?

We have got this question so much that we decided to give you the exact answer to the PATH message alert on Where’s My Refund.

The PATH message on Where’s My Refund means that your tax return has been accepted, but is being held until February 15th, 2017 due to the PATH law. We have the full story on the PATH law here.

Did you receive the PATH Message on Where’s My Refund and have your bars disappear? 

What is the PATH act?
What does the PATH message mean?

PATH Act Tax Related Provisions

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act), was enacted on December 18, 2015. The PATH Act contains several changes to the tax law that affect individuals, families, businesses and help safeguard against tax fraud.

Possible Refund Delay for Some Early Filers:

The PATH Act mandates that the IRS not issue a refund on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. The additional time helps the IRS stop fraudulent refunds from being issued to identity thieves and fraudulent claims with fabricated wages and withholdings.
More information about this law is available on this information page.

Employers can Take Advantage of Expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit:

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The PATH Act retroactively extended the WOTC for nine categories of workers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2015. It also added a tenth category for long-term unemployment recipients hired on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Other requirements and further details can be found in the instructions to Form 8850, Notice 2016-22 and Notice 2016-40, available on IRS.gov.

Guidelines on How to Claim New Wrongful-incarceration Exclusion:

The PATH Act includes new wrongful-incarceration exclusion. This legislation provides a special one-year window during which an eligible wrongfully-incarcerated individual can file a refund claim based on any civil damages, restitution or other monetary award received and reported in a prior tax year, even if the normal statute of limitations had already expired for that year. The guidelines are contained in a set of frequently-asked questions, posted on IRS.gov.

ITIN Changes and Renewals:

The PATH Act provisions related to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) programrequire some taxpayers to renew their ITINs beginning in October 2016. ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return unless renewed by the taxpayer. Taxpayers using an expired ITIN could face a refund delay and may be ineligible for certain tax credits. These provisions, along with new procedures to help taxpayers navigate these changes, are outlined in IRS Notice 2016-48, and on IRS.gov

PATH message Frequently Asked Questions

Question) What if I had EITC and/or ACTC, but I do not have the PATH message, just stuck in processing?
 
Answer) This seems to be very common right now, and you are not alone in this. It appears that some of the taxpayers are not receiving the PATH message even if their tax return is delayed until February 15th. The only thing we can recoimend is just to continue to check Where’s My Refund or the IRS2Go app daily.
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