Personal finance

The IRS has issued over 22 million tax refunds. Here’s the average payment

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The tax season kicked off on Jan. 24, and the IRS has issued more than 22 million tax refunds worth around $78 billion, the agency reported Friday.

As of Feb. 18, the average refund was $3,536, over $700 higher than last year’s payment of $2,815, as reported through Dec. 3. However, the average may change as millions of Americans file their returns.

Some tax experts predict smaller refunds for families who received the advance child tax credit, borrowers who paused student loan payments or investors with sizable mutual fund payouts.  

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The latest filing season statistics come amid a challenging season for the IRS, which is still digging out from millions of unprocessed individual returns from last year.  

While the agency issues most refunds within 21 days, several factors may cause delays, including paper-filed returns, payments by mail, errors or returns affected by identity theft.

“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.”

The IRS sent about 7.4 million “math error” notices for stimulus payment mistakes from Jan. 1 through July 15, 2021, delaying refunds, and many are still waiting for a resolution.

Check your refund status

While IRS couldn’t issue refunds for the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit by law until mid-February, those payments should reach filers by March 1, according to the agency.     

You can check your refund status with the “Where’s My Refund?” online tool or through the IRS2Go app. You may see an update 24 hours after the IRS has received your electronic filing or four weeks after sending a paper return.

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