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Here’s how much Americans have gotten back on average from this year’s IRS tax refunds

IRS 1040 tax form with pen

The IRS says that, at the moment, it’s diligently working its way through a huge backlog of tax returns that have stacked up as a result of challenges associated with the Covid pandemic. The good news, though, is that the tax agency is already sending money out the door. And that, so far, early filers for 2022 don’t seem to be waiting too long for their IRS tax refunds.

Filing season began, this year, on January 24. That was the first day the IRS began accepting this year’s federal tax returns. According to IRS data, taxpayers have filed almost 17 million returns so far, as of the time of this writing. The IRS has processed almost 13 million of those — and a little more than 4 million have resulted in a tax refund. The average IRS refund so far? $2,306.

IRS tax refunds — average size so far in 2022

A man is shown opening a wallet full of cash.
A man is shown opening a wallet full of cash. Image source: Nana_studio/Adobe

“The IRS is taking numerous steps to keep this tax season going smoothly while also taking additional action to address the inventory of tax returns filed last year,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a news release this week. “We’re off to a good start processing tax returns and issuing refunds.”

That average refund total we mentioned above is just shy of last year’s average IRS tax refund amount of $2,800. Of course, once all the rest of this year’s returns pour in over the next few months, that will no doubt push the average higher. And speaking of those returns still to come, by the way, here’s another important number. More than 160 million individual returns are expected to be filed by this year’s April 18th deadline.

Which is to say, we’ve obviously barely scratched the surface so far. Importantly, when it comes to the tax refunds that people are hoping for, the IRS says most people will get theirs within 21 days. If, that is, they do two things: File electronically, and choose to get the refund direct-deposited.

Tax season 2022

In terms of what else to know about this year’s tax season, separate from data on IRS tax refunds issued so far? For starters, the IRS has created a special web page worth checking out.

It’s the “special tax season alerts” site, available via the IRS.gov home page. At that special page, taxpayers will find everything from information related to the second half of the child tax credit to details about other important benefits, like the Recovery Rebate Credit. As well as important tips if you have a tax return stuck in the IRS’ processing backlog.

Speaking of the child tax credit, don’t forget:

The monthly checks have ended, but the second half of that benefit actually comes via this year’s federal tax return. Recipients will claim an amount of money as a tax credit on the form equivalent to the total money they received from last year’s monthly checks.

Andy Meek profile photo

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.