As of March 22nd, the average tax refund stands at just a hair under three thousand dollars. At this time last year, the average was a little over that amount, sitting at $3,030 (the average for last year would later fall to $2,803 as later filers were accounted for).
As is always the case earlier in the season, this average will likely go down. It’s usually higher because people due refunds tend to file earlier than those who are not expecting one. If you were due a refund, it may make sense to adjust your tax withholding  as you don’t want to give Uncle Sam 25% of your income.
I wanted to dig a little deeper on the question of average income tax refund because nearly three thousand dollars seems really high but it actually isn’t. It took a bit of searching but after some research into their SOI Tax Stats  page, I was able to glean a few gems about the average tax refund.
2013 Tax Statistics
As of March 22nd, we’ve seen 80.4 million returns, which is a 5.2% drop from this time last year. All the various filing season statistics are down this year, including the tax refund amount (down 1.5%). The one surprise in all this was the increase in self-prepared returns compared to tax professionals. There’s a 0.9% increase in the number of returns that are being self-prepared – I think that’s a great. Another great statistics is the percentage of filers requesting direct deposit refunds is higher than last year – folks are wising up! Don’t wait for a check, get your refund faster .
2012 Tax Statistics
As of April 27th, nearly two weeks after the end of tax season, the average tax refund dipped slightly from two weeks ago to $2,716 as more returns were filed. They’ve now processed 126.3 million returns of a total 133.5 million received with 99.1 million refunds. The number of direct depositors increased to 78 million with a total amount of refunds hitting nearly $228 billion. A stunning figure that’s only 0.3% higher than the amount for last year.
As of April 13th , they have processed over 105.7 million returns out of 109.2 million. Not surprisingly, 69.7 million taxpayers opted for direct deposit and their refund was slightly lower at $2,762. What I’d like to know is why nearly 20 million refund eligible taxpayers didn’t opt for direct deposit, why not get your money sooner? At least they’re increases in totals over last year.
Historical Average Tax Refund
In previous years, the average tax refund has been in the same range, with the average peaking for the 2009 tax year before slipping:
- Average 2012 Refund: $2,803
- Average 2011 Refund: $2,913
- Average 2010 Refund: $3,003
- Average 2009 Refund: $3,036
- Average 2008 Refund: $2,728
- Average 2007 Refund: $2,699
If you’re a stat junkie and glean anything remarkable in those IRS stats, please let us know!
(Photo: doncav )