Close this search box.

Table of Contents



The PATH Act, or Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, is a U.S. legislation passed in 2015 that made several tax provisions permanent, extended others, and introduced new taxpayer protections. It primarily benefits businesses and individuals by sustaining certain tax breaks and credits. Additionally, the PATH Act is designed to reduce tax fraud and promote compliance with tax laws.


The phonetics of the keyword “PATH Act” can be represented as: P – PapaA – AlphaT – TangoH – HotelA – AlphaC – CharlieT – Tango

Key Takeaways

  1. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act aims to protect taxpayers from fraud and identity theft by strengthening tax laws and providing relief to individuals and businesses.
  2. The act provides numerous tax benefits, including the extension of various tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  3. The PATH Act also includes provisions for taxpayers to comply with new reporting deadlines and the requirement of businesses to file Form 1099-MISC and W-2 forms.


The PATH Act, or Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, is a significant piece of legislation in the fields of business and finance, as it aims to provide various tax benefits and incentives for businesses, individuals, and families. Enacted in 2015, it has immense implications on tax planning strategies, as it makes several temporary tax provisions permanent while extending others for multiple years. The PATH Act helps promote economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness, while also simplifying an array of complex tax provisions. Additionally, it addresses tax fraud and identity theft concerns, enhancing the integrity of the tax system and bolstering taxpayer confidence. Overall, the PATH Act plays a critical role in fostering financial stability and promoting sustainable business growth, directly impacting the financial landscape in the United States.


The PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) Act, enacted in 2015, serves multiple purposes to stimulate economic growth and safeguard taxpaying citizens in the United States. Its primary objective involves the provision of various tax relief measures, credits, and incentives to promote investments, support businesses, and generate job opportunities. Devised to protect taxpayers from fraudulent claims filed by identity theft, the PATH Act also improves the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) oversight and implements procedural reforms for claiming tax benefits.

The PATH Act is employed extensively to alleviate the burden on taxpayers. For instance, the act makes several tax provisions permanent, such as the research and experimentation tax credit, business expensing for smaller enterprises, and the Child Tax Credit. The PATH Act encourages business expansion and the purchase of equipment through the enhancement of Section 179, allowing companies to expense a substantial sum of qualifying assets immediately. Furthermore, the legislation aids low-income families by extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and offers incentives for charitable donations. Overall, the PATH Act establishes a comprehensive and balanced approach to facilitate economic growth and protect the American taxpayers’ interests.


The PATH Act, or Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, was signed into law in the United States in December 2015. It aimed to provide various tax relief provisions for individuals and businesses, as well as changes to existing tax legislation. Here are three real-world examples:

1. Extension of bonus depreciation: Before the PATH Act, businesses could claim a 50% bonus depreciation on qualified new property acquisitions. The PATH Act extended this bonus depreciation through 2019, allowing businesses to continue investing in new equipment and other capital improvements. For example, if a company purchased new machinery worth $100,000, they could claim a bonus depreciation of $50,000 in addition to their regular depreciation for that year.

2. Permanent extension of research and development (R&D) tax credit: Prior to the PATH Act, the R&D tax credit was subject to periodic expiration and renewal by Congress. The PATH Act made this tax credit permanent, providing stability for companies engaged in R&D activities. A pharmaceutical company investing in the development of new drugs could now rely on the existence of the R&D tax credit and better plan its investments in research activities.

3. Enhanced American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC): The PATH Act made important changes to the AOTC, a tax credit designed to help families pay for undergraduate education expenses. The credit offers up to $2,500 per eligible student and was set to expire in 2017. The PATH Act made the AOTC permanent, providing greater financial assistance to families with children attending college. A family with two children enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs could potentially claim up to $20,000 in combined tax credits over the duration of their children’s education.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the PATH Act?

The PATH Act, or Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, is a comprehensive tax legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in December 2015. The act primarily focuses on extending and making permanent various tax provisions and benefits for individuals and businesses, while also aiming to curb tax fraud.

What are some key provisions of the PATH Act?

Some important provisions of the PATH Act include making various tax credits permanent or extended, such as the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and business expensing under Section 179. The act also contains provisions to combat tax fraud, such as requiring the IRS to delay refunds related to EITC and Additional Child Tax Credit until after February 15.

How does the PATH Act affect businesses?

The PATH Act benefits businesses by providing permanent or extended tax provisions to support growth and investment, such as the expensing of equipment purchases under Section 179, Research & Development Tax Credit, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. These provisions aim to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

What impact does the PATH Act have on individual taxpayers?

Individual taxpayers can benefit from several provisions of the PATH Act, such as the extension and enhancements of the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for higher education expenses. These provisions aim to provide financial relief and support to qualifying taxpayers.

What is the role of the PATH Act in preventing tax fraud?

The PATH Act contains several provisions aimed at preventing tax fraud and identity theft, including requiring the IRS to delay refunds related to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until after February 15, allowing more time for verification of income. Additionally, the act requires employers to file W-2 forms by January 31 to help the IRS match records more effectively, and it also introduces stronger penalties for tax fraud.

How does the PATH Act affect the Research & Development Tax Credit?

The PATH Act made the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit permanent, allowing businesses to continue benefiting from this credit, which incentivizes innovation and research investment. In addition, the act expanded eligibility for the credit to small businesses and startups, encouraging further growth and development in various sectors.

Related Finance Terms

  • Tax Extenders
  • IRS
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
  • Section 179 Deduction

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More