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2019 Tax Tracker #3: Tax Filings Continue to Narrow the Gap with Last Year

Executive Summary

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tracks tax return filings on a weekly basis.

  • As of February 15, the IRS had received 39.7 million tax returns, down 4.8% year over year.
  • A total of 23.5 million refunds had been issued as of that date (down 26.5% year over year), totaling $62.0 billion (down 38.8% year over year) and averaging $2,640 (down $529 or 16.7% year over year).
  • The drop is in returns filed is likely due to confusion from tax law changes, combined with reduced availability of IRS agents due to the government shutdown. Given a solid US economy, higher wages and employment rates, total refunds are likely to be higher in 2019, now that the disruption from the government shutdown has been resolved.

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