The tax-collecting agency said last week that it has issued more than 45 million refunds worth a collective $152 billion as of March 11. The average payment so far is worth $3,352 – much larger than last year's average of about $2,800 – though it may change by the April 18 deadline.
The latest filing statistics come as the IRS warns of a "challenging" tax season for filers as the agency works through a massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns.
There are some steps that taxpayers can take in order to get their money back faster. Experts have urged taxpayers to file their tax returns as soon as possible, noting that individuals do not need previous returns in order to submit their 2021 returns. Americans are encouraged to file electronically with direct deposit in order to avoid potential delays and receive their return within 21 days.
Taxpayers will also have to reflect the monthly child tax credit payments and the stimulus checks they received in 2021 on their returns, further complicating matters and increasing the likelihood of errors and delays in processing returns.
"We urge extra attention to those who received an economic impact payment or an advance child tax credit last year," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. "People should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid delays."
Families that received monthly installments of the boosted child tax credit last year will receive a letter – called Letter 6419 – from the IRS informing them of the total amount of the advanced payment they received and the number of qualifying children used to calculate the payments.
Because at least half of the enhanced credit will be paid out as a lump sum when parents receive their 2021 tax return, recipients should keep the letter and use it to accurately reconcile the credit they already received when filing their taxes this year. The information is pertinent to determining how much more money families receive from the credit when they fill out Schedule 8812 and Form 1040.
If taxpayers file an electronic return with no issues and opt to receive the refund via direct deposit, the IRS anticipates the money will arrive within 21 days. You can start tracking the status of your tax refund within 24 hours of filing using the IRS' Where’s My Refund tool.
The tax-filing season will end on April 18 this year for most individuals, rather than the usual deadline of April 15, because that's when Emancipation Day will be observed in Washington, D.C.