Average tax refund slips to $2,913 in 2011

@CNNMoney January 10, 2012: 12:27 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The IRS not only doled out fewer tax refunds last year, but it also cut smaller checks with the average refund slipping by nearly $100.

Taxpayers received tax refunds averaging $2,913 in 2011, down 3% from the average refund of $3,003 in the prior year, according to the latest filing statistics released by the IRS.

The agency delivered a total of 109.3 million refunds during the year, adding up to a total of $318.5 billion. That's down slightly from 2010, when 109.4 million refunds were given out, totaling $328.4 billion.

Direct deposit was the most popular way for taxpayers to receive refunds last year, with more than 79 million refunds deposited into accounts -- up 6% from 2010.

More than 75% of taxpayers filed returns using the agency's free online e-filing system, an increase of nearly 14% from the previous year. While the majority of e-filers hired tax professionals to submit their taxes, the number of taxpayers preparing their own taxes jumped by 14%.

Same-sex spouses lose big on taxes

For those who think you're owed a refund but haven't gotten any money back yet, it could still be out there. In late November, the IRS said it is holding onto tens of millions of dollars in tax refunds that it hasn't been able to deliver to consumers due to mailing address errors.

To find out what happened to your refund, check the status by using the "Where's My Refund?" tool on the IRS website. To top of page

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