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What is the average tax refund amount sent by IRS in 2021?

The IRS has had the largest backlog of refunds in its history as it has been at the forefront of covid-19 payments.

A U.S. five dollar note.
Thomas WhiteReuters

How much is the average tax refund?

The average refund amounted to $2,827 this year. In total, the organisation refunded $270 billion of money to 96 million people in the 2021 tax filing season. Around $807 billion in stimulus checks were also sent out in the same period. In an extremely difficult year for most Americans financially, these payments have been a lifeline.

Despite the huge amount of claims processed and money sent, there are still millions of claimants waiting for their tax returns to be processed.

How and why is the backlog so big?

As of May 2021 the IRS had a backlog of 35 million tax returns to manually process. Couple this with the impact of home working and bringing this number down becomes an almighty task.

A report from the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) states that the 2021 filing season was a "perfect storm" as the agency had to deal with 12 million returns from 2020, changes to tax laws from the American Rescue Plan, the Child Tax Credit and increased unemployment benefits, not to mention the stimulus checks that have been sent out over the last 18 months.

Talking about the Child Tax Credit...

For some it is desperately needed money and the report highlights the need to speed up the returns process, despite the logistical challenges.


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