Question of the Day: What is the average tax refund received by American workers?

Apr 14, 2020
Question of the Day, Taxes

Answer: $2,869


  • About 80% of workers receive an income tax refund every year. This means that they pay more in taxes during the year then they need to. This is the reason they get a refund. Why do you think workers do this?
  • Is receiving a refund of nearly $3000 good for American workers? Why or why not?
  • The deadline to file a tax return has been extended to July 15th. If you expect to receive a refund, should you file earlier?
  • Do your parents/guardians typically get an income tax refund? If you don’t know the answer, ask your parents/guardians and find out.

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Behind the numbers (Bankrate): 

As of Dec. 27, 2019, the IRS had received 155.8 million tax returns for the 2018 tax year and of those, 138.2 million were filed electronically. Of e-filed returns, tax professionals prepared 80.6 million of them; the remaining 57.6 million were self-prepared.

There were about 111.8 million refunds issued totaling $320.1 billion, with the average refund being $2,869, a 1.4 percent drop from $2,910 the previous year. Of the refunds, more than 92 million were direct-deposited, which is a 2.1 percent increase from the previous year when slightly more than 90 million refunds were direct-deposited.


Check out our updated Taxes Unit for more ideas on how to bring this important topic to your students!


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.