[Latest Update] The IRS has announced that it cannot finalize processing of tax refunds before mid-February for taxpayers who claimed the EITC/ACTC, per the PATH Act. They have however stressed that taxpayers should not expect refunds to be available in bank accounts or on debit cards until the end of February.
Last year however some people did see it earlier depending on their refund deposit method. The refund payment timing is due to several factors, including weekends, government shutdowns, the Presidents Day holiday and the time needed for treasury and banks to process direct deposits. Your WMR status (see the end of the article for details) will indicate “processing” until then or will be updated if additional non-PATH related information is needed. Scroll down to see comments and tips from other readers based on the current and past tax year when the PATH act was enacted.
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(Comments from Jazzy – the resident tax expert helping out various folks. Scroll down to see additional comments)
Although, Treasury and Banks state they are closed for the Presidents Day holiday; a lot of actions are going on behind the scene. Trust me IRS started releasing funds on the midnight of the 15th – 18th to the treasury. The treasury has the ability to send funds out electronically automatically within min/hours to banks. They processed over 15 millions returns during that time frame.
Those who had dates of 22nd, most got their refund deposited on Friday. I was one of them. Those on the 23rd are the ones that will get theirs on Tues/Wed. The banks have the funds already; they just aren’t releasing until starting midnight tonight up until Wed…
Think about it, if it only takes let’s just say 24/48 hours for the banks to get the refunds from the treasury…then those that went out on the 15-16…reached the banks in time for Friday releases. Those on 17-18 will release on Tues./Wed. It is the bank that are holding those refunds until after the holiday…IRS warned the delay are with the BANKS, not the Treasury or them.
The IRS had this strategy planned long time ago when they started that PATH law…they knew how they was going to roll out the releases…Treasury Dept. has the capabilities to release without being Opened.
My mom/dad gets SS and their checks are released (5) days and their bank hold it in “pending” status until the date on the check…the same thing for Refunds…some banks don’t hold (depends) on your bank policy. My credit union don’t hold. Don’t be fooled…technology allows anything to process in real time…electronically means just that…real time….just like an email can come from me to you….within minutes.
Oh by the way everyone take a look at your WMR up until you actually get your refund. I have read where some have posted that Sat they had DDD, then Sunday it changed back to ..”we are processing your return…and this weekend that got a ltr 4883 (id verification) or 4464c, and letters asking to fax 1095 health form…varies issues…their DDD was pulled and placed back on hold….
So, don’t spend that money until you actually have it in your bank account/hands…IRS is pulling a lot of tricks this year…
I know everyone may have the same question, so instead of trying to reply to everyone individually, there is nothing you can do from now until Saturday but pray you are one of the lucky ones that will get an update and DDD or 846 on your transcript between now and the 18th.
I HIGHLY recommend you call all day today and speak to as many IRS rep you need to if you got questions or concerned there may be an issues, hold or review that may delay you further..
It only takes 10-15 minutes to get thru this line…(800) 829-0582 ext. 652. Just tell them you got a code on the WMR this morning saying you were instructed to call; but you don’t recall what the code was and you are not at a computer to log in…do I have a letter being mailed or do I need to verify my ID or something? This is a sure way to get them to call up your return to take a look…
If they say just the WMR by the 18th this is a “secret” code for – You will be seeing DDD on or before that day on the WMR…you can get them to but you have to be very persuasive and persistent which take a lot of work…lol. Heck I was worn out after that call…smh. But it was well worth the answer I got at the end. :-).
HINT: Make you your message on the WMR does not say “processing”…but instead “processed”…there is a huge difference…”processing” mean something is still going on and you are not fully done…the other YOU ARE.
The reason for the different wording is for those who did not get the PATH message in the first place; and who still have we are still processing your return and a date will be available….(This is how they can tell them apart).
[Update Feb 14th] The IRS has confirmed to several readers that seeing the “PATH” message in WMR is a good thing. It means the IRS has reviewed your return and is now holding on processing until Feb 15 as required by law. You should start seeing updates to your WMR status and a Direct Deposit Date (DDD) from Feb 15th or 16th (since WMR updates overnight).
Sharon I spoke with IRS on today, if you claim EIC they should start releasing payments on Wednesday 2/15/17. Also IRS will be working Saturday 2/18/17 & Monday 2/20/17. So hopefully we all should be relieved by the weekend. Special Thanks to Author Andy for this special page!!
Jazzy …You get a FULL PAGE PATH message, starting check back for a personal DDD date after the 15th. Everyone got the 152 path message where you click on the Code 152 to read. The other one…pops up after the bars disappears…. I think people are getting confused about the (2) path message, that’s all…IRS WEBSITE NEWS: By law, the IRS must hold Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit refunds until Feb. 15. Taxpayers will begin to see refunds claiming EITC/ACTC the week of Feb. 27. “Where’s My Refund?” will update for EITC/ACTC refunds beginning Feb. 16, with the vast majority updating by Feb. 18.The IRS will staff its toll-free telephone service Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., callers’ local time, and Monday, Feb. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., callers’ local time.
The IRS has reiterated that they will start processing 2016 tax returns on Jan 23rd 2017, but some readers are saying that their refunds have already been accepted. This includes those with EITC and ACTC payments which the IRS has said could further delay refund payments this year.
PATH Act Tax Related Provisions delaying EITC and ACTC
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act), was enacted on December 18, 2015 and 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.
Jennifer says in a comment on the 2017 IRS refund schedule, “My return was accepted on the 17th. I received an email early Tuesday morning and checked and it was. So I guess some were actually accepted before the 23rd. I do get eitc but not actc.” Gerri on the same article says, “My return was accepted January 12th, 2017. I find it odd that turbo tax is already giving me a date range. I thought the irs was delaying EIC returns. If that’s the case, how is it possible that Turbo tax has a date for me already. I am hoping that since I filed so so early this year, that maybe the irs is processing some returns to test the system out. Maybe some of us that claim the EIC will not get delayed. Hmmmm….wishful thinking I suppose!”
This prompted the following replies:
So what is going on?
This is definetly creating some confusion for readers. But the answer is simple. The IRS was clear that processing would not start till Jan 23rd. But they will clearly accept earlier. Receiving/Accepting your return vs approving/processing your refund is two different things. To see this more clearly look the official IRS Where’s My Refund tool process diagram which shows the following sequence of how they accept. process and pay out refunds. You can see that when a refund is received (or accepted) it means that it is in queue for processing. But it does not mean it is approved and/or a refund is ready to be paid.
The three status’ in the official IRS WMR tool are (1) Return Received (sometimes = return accepted), (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent. Sometimes if you are using popular online tax filing tools like TurboTax or H&R block, you may see them showing refund approved. but that is the status in their system or based on an IRS refund payment estimate they have derived from past years. You need to go to the official IRS WMR tool page to see the personalized IRS processing status and refund information/date.
This article was updated on February 25