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On the radar: IRS filing season statistics indicate peak of refund amounts has passed

The latest IRS filing season statistics for the week of March 15 (2019 filing season for tax year 2018) put the size of the average tax refund at $2,957, down from the peak of $3,143 in the February 22 week. The average size of a direct deposit refund was $3,065 in the March 15 week, down from the peak of $3,226 in the February 22 week.

Taxpayers who are owed a return tend to file earlier in the season and electronically with direct deposit, so it is normal for the size of the return to drop off the closer it gets to the tax filing deadline on April 15. The initial amounts in returns this year were smaller, but quickly caught up to levels in recent years and briefly surpassed them.

However, the number of returns received in the March 15 was at 75,881,000, down 2.5% from the comparable week last year. The number of returns process was down 2.4% at 73,528,000. At 71,815,000, e-filings were down 1.3% from the year-ago week.

This would suggest that there may be more taxpayers who expect to owe money this year who therefore will file later.

For more history about the IRS filing season statistics and some of the blips in the data, please see the Whetstone Analysis Reference Library entry “Selected IRS filing season statistics – 1998 to present“.

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