As Americans prepare to file their taxes ahead of the April 18 filing deadline, the IRS is giving you an idea of what your refund may look like this year.
The agency released data for the tax filing season ending on Feb. 3, and the average tax refund for 2023 so far is $1,963. This time last year, the average refund was $2,201.
The IRS gathered statistics comparing tax returns that were refunded, received, and processed between Feb. 4, 2022 and Feb. 3, 2023.
According to the IRS, the total amount refunded this year so far is more than $15 billion compared to $9.5 billion in 2022.
Here’s what you need to know when filing your taxes this year.
Gathering 2022 tax documents
Gathering paperwork can be a hassle but the IRS suggests setting up a records system to keep your tax documents organized.
These 2022 documents include W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms from banks or other payers, and 1099-K forms from third-party payment entities.
The IRS says creating an online account on their site lets filers securely access their personal tax information. You can do this by logging in and verifying your name and address. The agency notes that people should notify them if their address has changed and contact the Social Security Administration if they have a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing a return.
What can I do to avoid tax refund delays?
It’s important for individuals to complete their tax records before filing their returns to prevent refund delays.
Most refunds are issued in less than 21 days, but the IRS explains that filers shouldn’t rely on getting their refund on a specific date. According to the IRS, some tax returns may require more review and can take longer to process if the agency finds an error, the return is missing information, or if there is identity theft or fraud.
An earned income tax credit helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. According to the IRS, if a person qualifies, they can use the credit to reduce the taxes they owe while possibly increasing the amount of the refund.
A child tax credit helps families with qualifying children get a tax break. According to the IRS, an individual may be able to claim the credit even if they don't normally file a tax return.
Additionally, the IRS says they must hold the entire refund, not just the portion, with the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit.
Set up direct deposit to get your refund faster
Once you file your taxes, the quickest way to get your return is through direct deposit. This method avoids the hassle of waiting to receive your refund check by mail. Plus, it minimizes the chances of it being lost or stolen or returned to the IRS as undeliverable.
According to the IRS, prepaid debit cards or mobile apps may allow a direct deposit of tax refunds but a routing and accounting number must be associated with it. The IRS notes that tax filers can contact the mobile app provider or financial institution to confirm which numbers to use.
This story was reported from Washington, D.C.