IRS says average refund up 1.3 percent

IRS says average refund up 1.3 percent
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The IRS released data on Thursday showing that the average tax refund so far this year is slightly larger than it was last year, after earlier data from the agency showed a decline in the average refund amount.

The average refund was $3,143 through Feb. 22. That's 1.3 percent greater than the average refund of $3,103 through Feb. 23, 2018.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan Trump, China and trade: Who blinks first? On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada MORE said earlier in the day that tax refunds are now "basically" the same size as last year.

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The latest numbers are notable because the first three batches of filing-season data showed a smaller average refund. Refund amounts are being closely watched this year because it's the first time people are filing tax returns that reflect President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE's 2017 tax law.

The Treasury Department said there was a significant increase in the average refund amount in the new batch of data due to the IRS paying out more tax refunds claiming the earned income tax credit and child tax credit.

Refunds claiming those credits tend to be larger than other refunds, and by law, the IRS can't issue refunds claiming those credits until Feb. 15. Trump's tax law increased the size of the child tax credit.

Treasury said that filing-season data is likely to continue fluctuating from week to week.

The agency also stressed that there's a difference between a person's tax refund and whether their taxes went up or down. Most people are getting a tax cut under the new tax law.