In December of 2015 a new law was enacted that would, among other things, help protect taxpayers who file taxes early from identity theft. Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act) stipulates that taxpayers who claim Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit cannot receive their refund before the 15th of February. Because the PATH Act expanded the prior limits and became available to more families, it may affect the ability of millions of households to claim their refund early in the tax season.
You should still file your taxes as planned; the only difference is that the IRS will hold on to your refund until February 15. The benefit that the law is expected to create is less identity theft and refund fraud.
What to do to get the refund before February 15?
H&R Block decided to run a pilot program that started on January 9 that would advance $500, $750 or $1,250 to the taxpayers affected by the new law. H&H Block cannot impact how quickly you receive a refund as the law prohibits the IRS to release it early. The amounts mentioned are a loan against the refund; it is a no-interest loan without any finance charges but the taxes have to be filed at H&R Block. If this is something that interests you, mention the Refund Advance and complete the application.
You will receive a notification within 24 hours whether or not you were approved and for what amount. The loan would be available once the approval is granted and is issued through MetaBank on the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard.
Once your refund is released on February 15, it repays the loan amount and the remainder can be issued to you via direct deposit, check or placed on the Emerald Card. All those options would be presented to you at the time of applying for the loan.