Early IRS statistics point to smaller average refund size this year

Days into this year’s tax filing season, people are so far seeing smaller refunds compared to the same period last year, according to early statistics from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS’s first weekly report this year of filing-season data found that the average refund amount through Feb. 1 was $1,865 — 8.4 percent smaller than the average refund last year as of Feb. 2.

There were also fewer taxpayers who filed their returns in the first few days of this year’s filing season. The IRS said it received more than 16 million returns as of Feb. 1, down more than 12 million from the same time last year.

Why the numbers matter: The statistics mark an early look at the filing season, which started Jan. 28 and ends in mid-April. Taxpayers who claim certain refundable tax credits won’t start receiving refunds until later this month. By law, the IRS can’t issue those taxpayers refunds until Feb. 15. This year’s filing season will be closely watched, as it’s the first year that people’s tax filings will reflect many of the changes made in Republicans’ 2017 tax law. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda has the story.

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