Number of tax refunds nearly doubles compared to last year


It’s early in the 2015 tax season but Americans are already getting refunds — lots of them.

Nancy Vanden Houten of Stone & McCarthy Research went through the Internal Revenue Service data and notes 7.6 million refunds were issued through Jan. 30, almost double the number of refunds sent out through the end of January last year. getting refunds — lots of them.

But don’t take that as an indication that there are huge numbers of refunds on the way, she cautions.

“At this stage of the tax season, we still view the volume of refund issuance as a timing issue,” she wrote in a research note Tuesday, “rather than an indication that substantially more refunds will go out this year compared to last year.”

Tax returns were accepted starting Jan. 20 this year, compared to Jan. 30 last year. The later date in 2014 was due to a 16-day federal government shutdown in October 2013 that delayed updating of IRS systems, the agency said.

According to the IRS, the average refund so far in 2015 was $3,539, up 10% from a year ago.

The IRS has released data through Jan. 30. Vanden Houten notes data from the daily Treasury statement show refunds since then running ahead of where they were last year — but again says it’s too early to conclude anything about the whole refund season.

Her firm projects total refund issuance of $290 billion in 2015, up 4.4% from last year.