The IRS released statistics on Friday that give taxpayers a look at the start of the season.
So far, the average tax refund was $2,201 as of Feb. 4, about two weeks after kicking off Jan. 24, when the Internal Revenue Service began accepting returns.
A total of $9.53 billion was issued in cash with just over 4.3 million returns generating federal income tax refunds.
Nearly 16.7 million returns were received through Feb. 4 and nearly 13 million individual tax returns have been processed, according to IRS statistics.
The IRS said it received 417,595 electronically filed federal tax returns for those in Michigan since the start of the filing season through Feb. 4.
What is important to note is that the IRS is dealing with a heavy backlog of 2020 returns that have not been processed since last year and needed to move forward.
IRS statistics, for example, list about 4.46 million refunds issued by direct deposit. The average is $2,306. But the IRS footnotes say the category includes direct deposit refunds for returns received the previous year or the current year but processed in 2022 requesting direct deposit.
How do the early stats compare to last year?
The IRS delayed the start of tax season last year and did not begin processing tax returns until February 12, 2021. No year-over-year comparison exists at this point.
Not everyone who deposited early will see a quick refund.
The IRS, by law, cannot issue refunds that include a claim for an earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit before Feb. 15. Congress gave the IRS additional time to help the IRS stop the growth of fraudulent claims that wrongly attempted to cash in on the large refunds generated from these credits. The law was enacted in 2015.
People claiming the earned income tax credit can expect to see tax refunds in their bank accounts or debit cards by the first week of March, according to IRS alerts.
Trend lines can be difficult to follow since not all fiscal seasons are the same.
The IRS noted, “For historical perspective, it’s important to remember that these weekly numbers can change significantly during the first few weeks of filing season due to many factors, including the timing and filing patterns that may change from year to year.
If you have encountered a problem, the IRS offers special hours of assistance at its offices.
The Detroit IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center will be open without an appointment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The office is located at 500 Woodward Ave. in the Ally Detroit Center, near a QLINE light rail line and East Congress Street.
Visitors can enter if they have issues related to refunds, transcripts, identity theft, child advance tax credit, and other concerns. Payments can be made by check or money order, not cash. Bring all necessary papers.
The IRS recommends individuals bring:
- Current government issued photo ID.
- Social Security cards and/or individual tax identification numbers for all members of their household.
- Any IRS letters or notices received and documents requested.
- A current mailing address.
- An email address.
- Bank account information, to receive payments or refunds by direct deposit.