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 MnuchinChris Wallace rips both parties for coronavirus package impasse: 'Pox on both their houses' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump goes birther again; no deal on COVID-19 package Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate 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 TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days 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.