NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The IRS has issued 84.7 million refunds as of April 22, according to a report released Thursday. These checks averaged $2,144 each, for a total of nearly $182 billion.
Helping the IRS process the returns more quickly was the increasing number of taxpayers filing electronically. Nearly 66 million Americans e-filed their 2004 taxes this year, a 10.7 increase from 2003.
As the agency's commissioner Mark Evans pointed out, "For the first time, more than half of all taxpayers filed electronically."
An IRS spokesman said that e-filing can cut the time it takes to process a return and issue a refund by as much as half. "The average is about two weeks for filers who also opt for direct deposit," he said.
Taxpayers are also using the resources of the IRS Web site in record numbers. About 17.6 million have tracked their refunds by visiting the IRS's "Where's My Refund?" page. There, an individual can see if the IRS has received his or her return and whether the refund has been processed and sent out.
For information about how the IRS handles tax fraud, click here.