2021 TAX FILING

What is the average IRS tax return in each state?

The IRS is processing 2020 tax filings to see whether taxpayers have to pay in or they paid too much during the year, the latter can expect a refund check.

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What is the average IRS tax return in each state?
Leah Millis REUTERS

During the year Americans have a portion of their pay garnished by Uncle Sam to go toward their tax burden on the income they earned. If you don’t calculate how much to send the IRS you may get an unpleasant surprise at the end of the year and have to write the government a check to make up the difference. However, if you had more garnished than was necessary, you’ll be getting a nice surprise, with Uncle Sam writing you a check instead.

Simply put you are getting your money back, after giving the government an interest-free loan every time you paid more than you had to. How you determine how much you’ll send the IRS with every paycheck depends on a number of factors from what you specified with your employer on your W-4 to be withheld to the number of deductions or tax credits you are entitled to claim when you file.

What states get the largest tax refunds

The average tax refund also varies by state, but according to the most current data that the IRS has for the US covers returns filed for the 2019 calendar year. Last year the average federal tax refund for individuals was $2,707.

Although some state taxes can be deducted from your federal tax burden the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited or removed several deductions. Before packing your bags to take advantage of better refunds in other states, the difference between the highest and lowest federal refunds aren’t that far apart. Also, you may find that your tax dollars do more for you in a higher tax state than one with lower taxes.

In 2019 the difference between the highest and lowest refund was $877. In Maine, the average refund was around $2,314, but in Texas, the average taxpayer got back about $3,191. However, that just means that Texans sent more money to the federal government than they had to and are now seeing that money come back.

Five states with the highest IRS tax refund

Texas
$3,191
Louisiana
$3,062
Florida
$3,005
Mississippi
$2,964
Alaska
$2946

Five states with the lowest IRS tax refund

Maine
$2,314
Oregon
$2,323
Vermont
$2,337
Wisconsin
$2,397
Montana
$2,418

This year is worth doing you tax filing early

As Congress gets set to send another round of covid-19 relief to Biden’s desk to be signed, expected before mid-March when all is said and done, there are several provisions in the bill that the IRS will use information they have on record from tax filings to determine eligibility. Case in point, nearly 8 million were left out of the Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, because the IRS didn’t have any information about this group known as non-filers. Others may have been entitled to a bigger direct payment than they received because the pandemic negatively affected their finances in 2020, but the IRS used 2019, or even 2018, data to decide how much to send out to Americans in the stimulus checks.

Both of these groups could see a larger refund check this year when they claim the money due them in the Recovery Rebate Credit. Regardless of whether you are entitled to more stimulus money, the sooner you get your paperwork in for the 2020 fiscal year will mean the sooner you can see your payment in the mail or bank account. By doing your taxes earlier you can avoid tax scammers trying to steal your check as well.

Average IRS tax refund state by state

Here’s a breakdown of the average tax refund issued by the IRS for each state for the 2019 fiscal year, listed from highest average refund amount to lowest:

State
Average Refund Issued Per Return
Texas
$3,191
Louisiana
$3,062
Florida
$3,005
Mississippi
$2,964
Alaska
$2946
Connecticut
$2,909
New York
$2,907
Oklahoma
$2,889
Nevada
$2,879
Wyoming
$2,878
Georgia
$2,848
New Jersey
$2,848
Alabama
$2,845
Illinois
$2,825
Nebraska
$2,818
Arkansas
$2,809
California
$2,805
Tennessee
$2,794
North Dakota
$2,782
Washington
$2,758
Massachusetts
$2,746
Arizona
$2,718
South Dakota
$2,714
Virginia
$2,705
Utah
$2,700
Delaware
$2,687
Missouri
$2,685
Kansas
$2,675
West Virginia
$2,673
New Mexico
$2,672
Maryland
$2,671
Kentucky
$2,663
Indiana
$2,662
North Carolina
$2,638
Pennsylvania
$2,623
Iowa
$2,607
Michigan
$2,603
Colorado
$2,594
South Carolina
$2,592
New Hampshire
$2,575
Rhode Island
$2,547
Hawaii
$2,537
Ohio
$2,510
Idaho
$2,506
Minnesota
$2,486
Montana
$2,418
Wisconsin
$2,397
Vermont
$2,337
Oregon
$2,323
Maine
$2,314