Preliminary statistics from the Internal Revenue Statistics for 2014 show that refund averages are up two percent from last year, and the majority of individuals who are receiving a tax refund elected to have the funds direct deposited into bank accounts. In fact, the statistics show that 85 percent of refunds will be handled electronically, so relatively few checks are being send out by the IRS. The benefit to taxpayers is that refunds are available faster. The IRS reports that electronic refunds are received up to a week faster on average than paper checks are.
The IRS expects to receive close to 150 million returns this year. As of accounting on March 21, the agency received 83 million returns. Around 44 million of received returns were filed by tax professionals through electronic software; 32 million returns were filed electronically by individuals.
Over half of filers have received refunds so far — the IRS reports that 57 million returns resulted in direct deposit refunds that totaled over $170 billion. Including paper checks, over 67 million refunds have been processed. The average refund amount as of March 21 was $2,872.
Not everyone gets a refund, however. Many tax papers are dealing with tax liens due to federal debt or back taxes. Penalties and interest can pile up, eating away at future tax refunds for years. Because the IRS has a daunting reputation and tax woes can be overwhelming for individuals and small businesses, some people attempt to sweep issues under the rug rather than facing them head on. Instead of waiting for tax time each year to deal with issues, position yourself to be educated about your options and deal with complex tax issues as soon as possible. Taking care of issues now helps you guard your financial future.
Source: USA Today, “IRS: Refund check isn’t in the mail” Laura Petrecca, Mar. 27, 2014