Average Tax Refund Still Well Above Last Year’s Figure, Although Size of Refunds is Shrinking

The pace of income tax returns that have been filed with the Internal Revenue Service is slowing down, compared with last year, but the size of the average income tax refund remains significantly higher, further confounding members of the accounts receivable management industry, who had expected tax refunds for 2021 to be lower than usual, because of pandemic-related stimulus efforts by the federal government, which were advances on items normally addressed when filing tax returns.

Through March 11, with about a month left in the 2021 filing season, the average tax refund was $3,352, 13% higher than the average refund of $2,967 at the same point lsat year, according to data released by the IRS. Individuals have submitted 63.5 million returns, compared with 66 million a year ago.

Even though many individuals and families likely have questions about the child tax credit, which the government disbursed last year as a means of helping people through the pandemic, visits to the IRS’s website are down 40%, year-over-year.

To date, the IRS has handed out 45.3 million refunds, compared with 42.5 million through the same point last year. The total amount returned to filers is $152 billion, compared with $126 billion last year.

The size of the average refund is dropping slightly during the course of the 2021 filing season. Through February 25, the average refund was $3,473, which has since dropped by more than $100 two weeks later. Generally, those receiving larger refunds tend to file their taxes earlier in the season then those who are receiving smaller refunds or those who might owe the federal government.

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