Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Average tax refund this year: $3,129

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As tax season kicks into gear, the Internal Revenue Service is doling out refunds averaging more than $3,000 so far this year.

Nearly 52 million Americans have already filed their taxes, with more than 45 million of those taxpayers collecting refunds, according to the latest filing statistics from the IRS.

The average refund has been $3,129 so far, while direct deposit refunds are averaging $3,257.

However, the average usually declines as tax season progresses because people getting the biggest refunds typically file their taxes the fastest. Last year, the average refund was closer to $3,000.

"A lot of times people have their withholding taxes artificially high during the year and plan for this large refund to fund a vacation or car or something like that," said Robert Willens, a professor of taxation at Columbia Business School and president of a tax consulting firm. "Even though it's not a good economic thing to do since they're essentially making an interest-free loan to the government."

The number of taxpayers who filed their returns online has risen more than 2%, to nearly 47 million. About 28 million of these filers had their taxes prepared by professionals this year -- little changed from last year.

But an increasing number of people are choosing to prepare their own returns. In fact, the number of people self-preparing their taxes online has jumped 6% from the same period last year, to nearly 19 million.

"This is just part and parcel of the technology revolution," said Willens. "You can now take advantage of programs that take the mystery out of doing your taxes, so people are feeling that there's less need to hire an outside party, recognizing that the outside party will probably use the same programs." To top of page

 
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.79%3.76%
15 yr fixed3.00%2.96%
5/1 ARM3.19%3.14%
30 yr refi3.77%3.75%
15 yr refi3.01%2.98%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 22,349.59 -9.64 -0.04%
Nasdaq 6,426.92 4.23 0.07%
S&P 500 2,502.22 1.62 0.06%
Treasuries 2.26 -0.02 -0.70%
Data as of 9:22am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 25.02 -0.14 -0.56%
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.30 -0.11 -0.82%
Apple Inc 151.89 -1.50 -0.98%
General Electric Co 24.87 0.12 0.48%
Ford Motor Co 11.84 0.12 1.02%
Data as of Sep 22

Sections

The shutdown, which raised protests from navigator groups, will occur from midnight to noon on on all but one Sunday. More

Facebook's board withdrew a proposal that was the subject of a shareholder lawsuit. As a result, the CEO will no longer head to court on Tuesday. More

When you're making big career decisions, you turn to your mentors and your trusted peers. But how do you find these mentors and trusted peers in the first place? More