Insight Report 3 minutes Premium

First Round of US Tax Refunds Lower, Likely Due to Tax Changes and Government Shutdown: 2019 Tax Tracker #1

Executive Summary

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

  • As of February 1, the IRS had received 16 million tax returns, down 12.4% year over year.
  • A total of 4.7 million refunds had been issued as of that date (down 24.3% year over year), totaling $8.7 billion (down 30.6% year over year) and averaging $1,865 each (down 8.4% year over year).
  • The drop in returns filed is likely due to confusion ensuing from tax law changes, combined with reduced availability of IRS agents due to the government shutdown. Given a solid U.S. economy, higher wages and employment rates, total refunds are likely to be higher in 2019, once the disruption from the government shutdown is resolved.

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