A look at the average IRS refund this tax season

Following initial taxpayer frustration over refund amounts, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says the average check size for the 2018 season is about the same as last year’s.

According to the most recent data released by the tax agency, the average refund was about $2,873 as of March 29. At the comparable time last year, the average was $2,893.

The total number of refunds is still down more than 2 percent when compared with last year. About 1.6 million fewer refunds have been issued to taxpayers, while about $6 billion less in total refund dollars have been returned.

About 92.8 million returns have been received by the agency, while 90.3 million have been processed.

Throughout the early weeks of this year’s tax season, many payers voiced frustrations over smaller or nonexistent refunds – with some even owing the agency for the first time. Data released by the IRS early on showed a decline in the average refund, which caused some people to question the effectiveness of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The Treasury Department has continually cautioned, however, that the size of a person’s refund is separate from whether his tax liability increased or decreased.


Overall, Treasury officials said they expect fewer Americans to get refunds this year when compared with last year. However, they said most Americans are still expected to see a net tax benefit as a result of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department previously told FOX Business that individual taxes will be lower for “approximately 80 percent of filers” thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Meanwhile, another 15 percent of people will see no change. That leaves about 5 percent who will owe more.