IRS Reports Average Refund Is $411 Higher Than Last Year
The IRS reported that it has already processed more than 53 million individual income tax returns, slightly ahead of pace from 2021.
Despite the well-documented struggles at the Internal Revenue Service, it appears that the beleaguered agency is making headway in processing new tax returns this year.
The IRS reported that it has received 54.7 million individual income tax returns and processed a little more than 53 million of them. The number of processed returns is up by more than 8 percent from last year.
In all, the agency has received more than one-third of all the individual returns it expects to get for this tax season.
$129 Billion in Refunds
The IRS has confirmed that it has issued nearly 38 million tax refunds for a total of $129.2 billion. That amounts to an average refund of $3,401—which is higher by $411, or 13.7 percent, from last year.
For the past several weeks, the agency has put out notice that most taxpayers should be able to receive their refunds within three weeks days of filing if they have error-free returns and file electronically. However, some tax returns might require additional manual review and take much longer.
According to personal finance expert Susan Tompor at the Detroit Free Press, it is important to keep in mind that the “IRS began processing returns roughly three weeks earlier this year than it did a year ago.”
“This year, the tax season began January 24,” she wrote. “As a result, comparisons can be difficult. Weekly numbers also can shift dramatically early in the season, as filing patterns also change, according to the IRS.”
The deadline in 2021 for 2021 returns was also extended to May 17.
Taking on Backlogs
Despite the relatively strong start to this tax season, the IRS is still trying to clear the 24 million unprocessed paper returns and correspondence that was on the table even before this tax season began.
In response, the agency has confirmed that later this month, it will extend the first of 5,000 job offers and add high-tech customer support tools throughout its operations to tackle its massive backlogs.
"It’s an exciting time to work for the Internal Revenue Service,” IRS Taxpayer Experience Officer and Wage and Investment Commissioner Ken Corbin said in a statement. “The IRS has opportunities for almost every profession, starting with these entry level positions. Starting here today can guide you to your future career, like it has done for me starting in high school.”
The IRS said that it also plans to hire another 5,000 workers next year.
In addition, the agency will deploy a second “surge team” that will reassign seven hundred employees at its processing centers in Utah, Missouri, and Texas.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.