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The average refund issued by the Internal Revenue Service through March 15 dropped by .1 percent over the comparable period ended March 16, 2018. Since the prior report had refunds up by the same percentage over the prior tax season, the pace of change for refunds appears to have plateaued.


This year’s average refund of $2,957 was down by three dollars from the similar period in 2018 and since the improvement in the prior report was four dollars, there has been no meaningful change. 

The pace also flattened for returns received after closing the gap over the 2018 season. There were 75,881,000 returns received for the season to date, down 2.5 percent from 77,795,000 for the comparable period in 2018. That was the same percentage change for the report issued March 8.

The total number of efiled returns received through March 15, 71,815,000, was off by 1.3 percent from 72,732,000 in last year’s corresponding period. That was also slightly improved from the minus 1.5 percent change from the prior report.

Efiles submitted by paid preparers improved slightly from the March 18 report. Tax professionals were responsible for 36,868,000 efiles, a decline of 3.6 percent from 38,245,000 a year ago That was better than the 4.6-percent gap in the prior report. There were 34,947,000 self-prepared e-files for the season reported to date, an increase of 1.3 percent from 34,487,000. The March 8 report had self-prepared efiles up 1.6 percent.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Monday, 01 April 2019
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