No, the PATH is not a game the IRS is playing. They are trying to protect the governments money and yours. Dependents, earned income and child tax are widely used by thieves to steal money by submitting false returns with others information. These refunds are normally the biggest so they are targeted by thieves more. They are simply holding all returns with path and double checking before sending out refunds. The more thieves steal from the IRS the more taxes go up to recoup that money. It's only 1 week longer than the normal 21 day wait. I always get money in the 22nd in the bank.