Millions of taxpayers have already received big refund checks, as the 2014 tax filing season seems to be humming along without a hitch. IRS issuing many refund checks already.
The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it issued $64.5 billion in refunds to 19.5 million taxpayers as of Feb. 7, a total dollar amount that was up 24% from the same time last year. The average refund check issued this year, $3,317, is also 4.6% larger than last year.
It’s not too surprising that this filing season is running more smoothly than last year, when the IRS lagged the previous year’s pace for issuing refunds throughout most of the filing season. The agency had to put off accepting certain tax forms until as late as March because it was updating its systems following the tax-code revamps caused by the fiscal-cliff legislation.
But taxpayers are also submitting their returns more quickly. The IRS received more than 27 million returns as of Feb. 7, up 2.5% from the same time in 2013. Nearly 96% of those were filed electronically. Samuel Hale, 21, a college student near Fort Worth, Texas, says his refund was deposited into his checking account Friday morning, a week after he filed his return electronically using online software. “I was very surprised,” says Hale, who couldn’t file his return until April last year because of a missing W-2 form.
In an interesting shift, the data shows more taxpayers are doing their own returns so far this tax season. Roughly half of the returns submitted, or 13.3 million, were self prepared, up 14.7% from last year. Typically, about 60% of returns are handled by a tax pro, according to IRS data.
Of course, not all taxpayers have been able to file their returns yet. Some people are still waiting on paperwork from their brokers, employers or colleges that they need to report all income and claim certain tax breaks. And some people aren’t eager to file their returns. Taxpayers who need to cut a check to the IRS generally wait until closer to April 15 to file.
Taxpayers can track their refunds using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool starting 24 hours after filing electronically, or four weeks after mailing in a return. About 90% of refunds are issued within 21 days, though some may be delayed if there is an issue with the return.
Discuss this and more on the Income Tax Forums.