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Average Tax Refund Amount Is Up 6.1% This Tax Season. How Much Money Filers Are Getting

 Average Tax Refund Amount Is Up 6.1% This Tax Season. How Much Money Filers Are Getting


The 2024 tax season has been chugging along for over eight weeks now, and now there’s just about two weeks left until everything wraps up, with the season having kicked off on Jan. 29 and ending April 15. The amount of tax refund money the IRS has sent out is continuing to pick up, even though the total number of refunds sent so far in 2024 is continuing to lag slightly behind the numbers for the same period in 2023.

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Taxpayers can normally expect to receive a refund within 21 days if they file electronically and choose direct deposit, the IRS said. But by March 22, the IRS had issued more than 49.1 million refunds. By comparison, the IRS had sent out over 53.9 million refunds by March 17, 2023. 

This story is part of Taxes 2024, CNET’s coverage of the best tax software, tax tips and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

Tax season last year started six days earlier, however, on Jan. 23, so the IRS had nearly a week longer to receive and process tax returns and send refunds. Given that, it seems that the agency is beginning to catch, and even surpass, last year’s numbers. 

Here’s how the IRS is doing this year. For more on taxes, check out our essential 2024 tax filing cheat sheet, how to track your refund with the IRS and the best tax software for 2024.

How many tax returns has the IRS processed so far in 2024? 

As of March 22, the IRS said it had processed 79.2 million federal income tax returns, down by 1.4% from the 80.3 million it got through this time last year. With tax season starting earlier in 2023 — Jan. 23 versus Jan. 29 — filers had six more days last year to send in their tax returns.

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The IRS had also received 80.4 million returns by March 22, down by just 0.3% from the 80.6 million it received by March 24, 2023.

Of the 80.4 million returns received so far, just over 78 million of those were filed electronically, the IRS said — 40.3 million from professional tax preparers and another 37.7 million from self-preparers.

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CNET Money brings financial insights, trends and news to your inbox every Wednesday.

How many tax refunds has the IRS issued so far? 

The IRS has issued more than 54.9 million refunds as of March 22, down by 7.3% from the 59.3 million it had sent out by March 24, 2023. 

In the first eight weeks of this tax year, the IRS refunded over $169.4 billion — down by just 1.7% from the $172.2 billion sent out by March 24 last year. Again, the 2023 tax season began six days earlier.

How do 2024’s tax refunds stack up to 2023’s so far?

The average refund size is up by 6.1%, from $2,903 for 2023’s tax season through March 24, to $3,081 for this season through March 22.

While the average refund size is up so far compared to the same time last year, the IRS told CNET that making year-to-date comparisons can be tricky because of how much earlier it started last year. The agency did say the 2024 tax season is off to a strong start, with all systems running well. 

Of those who received refunds, 52.7 million chose direct deposit, and their refund was $3,152. By comparison, for the same time period last year, 55.9 million direct depositors had already received their return, which averaged $2,991.

For more, here are the dates you need to know to get you through this tax season. For more on taxes, here’s how to set up an account on the IRS website and what to know about this year’s child tax credit.



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