X

IRS Tax Refunds Are Bigger This Year Than 2023: Here's How Much

With just 10 days until filing season is over, the IRS is picking up steam when it comes to returns.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
3 min read
5, 10, and 20 dollar bills

The IRS has issued over $185.6 billion in tax refunds so far this tax season.

James Martin/CNET

The 2024 tax season has been chugging along for over nine weeks now, and now there's just over one week left until filing season officially wraps up, with the season having kicked off on Jan. 29 and ending April 15. The amount of tax refund money the IRS has sent out is continuing to pick up, even though the total number of refunds sent so far in 2024 is continuing to lag slightly behind the numbers for the same period in 2023.

tax tips badge art

Taxpayers can normally expect to receive a refund within 21 days if they file electronically and choose direct deposit, the IRS said. But by March 29, the IRS had issued more than 60.8 million refunds. By comparison, the IRS had sent out over 62.9 million refunds by March 31, 2023. 

Tax season last year started six days earlier, however, on Jan. 23, so the IRS had nearly a week longer to receive and process tax returns and send refunds. Given that, it seems that the agency is beginning to catch, and even surpass, last year's numbers. 

Here's how the IRS is doing this year. For more on taxes, check out our essential 2024 tax filing cheat sheet, how to track your refund with the IRS and the best tax software for 2024.

How many tax returns has the IRS processed so far in 2024? 

As of March 29, the IRS said it had processed 88.8 million federal income tax returns, down by 1% from the 89.6 million it got through this time last year. With tax season starting earlier in 2023 -- Jan. 23 versus Jan. 29 -- filers had six more days last year to send in their tax returns.

Smart Money Advice on the Topics That Matter to You
CNET Money brings financial insights, trends and news to your inbox every Wednesday.
 
Yes, I also want to receive the CNET Insider newsletter, keeping me up to date with all things CNET.
By signing up, you will receive newsletters and promotional content and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

The IRS had also received 90.3 million returns by March 29, up by 0.2% from the 90.1 million it received by March 31, 2023.

Of the 90.3 million returns received so far, just over 87.3 million of those were filed electronically, the IRS said -- 46.3 million from professional tax preparers and another 41 million from self-preparers.

Smart Money Advice on the Topics That Matter to You
CNET Money brings financial insights, trends and news to your inbox every Wednesday.
 
Yes, I also want to receive the CNET Insider newsletter, keeping me up to date with all things CNET.
By signing up, you will receive newsletters and promotional content and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

How many tax refunds has the IRS issued so far? 

The IRS has issued more than 60.8 million refunds as of March 29, down by just 3.3% from the 62.9 million it had sent out by March 31, 2023. 

In the first eight weeks of this tax year, the IRS refunded over $185.6 billion -- up for the first time this year by 1.4% from the $183.1 billion sent out by March 31 last year. Once again, the 2023 tax season began six days earlier.

How do 2024's tax refunds stack up to 2023's so far?

The average refund size is up by 4.8%, from $2,910 for 2023's tax season through March 31, to $3,050 for this season through March 29.

While the average refund size is up so far compared to the same time last year, the IRS told CNET that making year-to-date comparisons can be tricky because of how much earlier it started last year. The agency did say the 2024 tax season is off to a strong start, with all systems running well. 

Of those who received refunds, 58.1 million chose direct deposit, and their refund was $3,124. By comparison, for the same time period last year, 60.8 million direct depositors had already received their return, which averaged $2,970.

For more, here are the dates you need to know to get you through this tax season. For more on taxes, here's how to set up an account on the IRS website and what to know about this year's child tax credit.