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2019 Tax Tracker #4: Filings Catch Up and Average Refund Now Up Year Over Year

Executive Summary

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

  • As of February 22, the IRS had received 49.9 million tax returns, down 3.5% year over year.
  • A total of 38.6 million refunds had been issued as of that date (down 4.8% year over year), totaling $121.2 billion (down 3.6% year over year) and averaging $3,143 (up $40 or 1.3% year over year).
  • The continuing slow rate of filing 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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