In all, the IRS received 103.3 million tax returns and has processed nearly 100 million of them—quite impressive considering that the beleaguered agency came into this tax season with 24 million unprocessed returns and correspondence from the year prior.
However, as personal finance expert Aimee Picchi pointed out at CBS News, the refund amounts likely aren’t consistent across all states, according to a recent analysis of IRS data from the financial site LendingTree.
In fact, the largest tax refunds were in Wyoming, where residents on average received $5,027, followed by Connecticut ($4,461), New York ($4,444), the District of Columbia ($4,356), and Florida ($4,301).
The amounts were based on the most recent data available from 2019, according to LendingTree.
“One of the things that you notice when looking at this report is that you do tend to see higher income states and lower income states kind of glued together in a lot of ways,” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz told CBS.
Meanwhile, Maine ($2,752) led the way among states with the smallest average refunds, followed by Oregon ($2,896), Vermont ($2,924), Iowa ($2,952), and West Virginia ($2,963).
The analysis also noted that 75 percent of taxpayers received a federal tax refund in 2019, with the average coming in at $3,651. Schulz, though, cautioned against celebrating too much because of this, adding that taxpayers should focus more on trying to get their tax bill to zero.
“While it might feel amazing to get a big refund, the truth is that a refund means that you’ve overpaid and essentially given the government an interest-free loan for no reason,” he said in a statement.
“That’s a big deal because that money could have instead helped you pay bills throughout the year, build up your emergency fund or even pay off some debt,” he continued.
Schulz, however, was open to the idea of receiving a generous refund in certain cases.
“If you don’t trust yourself to be smart with the extra money you’d receive throughout the year, then a big refund might make sense,” he said. “But only if you use it for a good purpose.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance 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.