Washington – Through four weeks of the filing season, the average tax refund in 2019 increased to $3,143, a significant jump from last week’s average of $2,640. The average refund at this point in the filing season is now up 1.3 percent over last year based on 47.7 million individual returns processed thus far in 2019 compared 49.2 million returns processed in 2018.
As previously stated, the increase in the weekly data is primarily due to the remainder of the Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits being paid out this week. Despite the higher refund average, we remind taxpayers that weekly filing season data is variable and will continue to fluctuate. We caution against drawing broad conclusions on refunds overall this early in the filing season.
We also continue to emphasize that there is a difference between a tax liability and a tax refund. The size of someone’s refund is a separate issue from whether their taxes have increased or decreased. Most people are benefiting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by receiving larger paychecks throughout the year, instead of tax refunds that simply result from people overpaying the government throughout the year.