Filing season 2017 has swung sharply from a trickle to a deluge of returns filed, according to John Hewitt, founder and president of Liberty Tax Service: “It’s been the worst January in history, followed by the best February in history. This is the result of the PATH Act.”

To combat fraudulent returns, the Protecting Americans against Tax Hikes Act of 2015 mandated that refunds on returns involving the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit be held until Feb. 15, 2017. “There was a mistaken feeling among the populace that because the IRS would not release their refunds until February 15, they could not e-file until then,” said Hewitt. “That’s close to $50 billion in refunds that normally gets spent within the first week that taxpayers receive it. The economy is hurt by lower-income Americans not being able to spend.”

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