Average 2017 Tax Refund: $2,878

Are you getting a tax refund this year? Here is how it compares to the national average.

The IRS has released data for the current tax filing year.

The average refund paid to taxpayers in 2017 is $2,878, a $46 increase over last year, out of over 74 million refunds issued. If you are getting a refund, you can use IRS form 8888 to have the refund directly deposited into as many as three different accounts.

The full data from the IRS are included in the table below.

2017 Filing Season Statistics

Cumulative statistics comparing 04/01/2016 and 03/31/2017
Individual Income Tax Returns: 2016 2017 % Change
Total Returns Received 97,631,000 93,675,000 -4.1
Total Returns Processed 94,988,000 91,267,000 -3.9
E-filing Receipts:
TOTAL 89,973,000 86,595,000 -3.8
Tax Professionals 51,014,000 48,646,000 -4.6
Self-prepared 38,959,000 37,949,000 -2.6
Web Usage:
Visits to IRS.gov 274,877,786 261,081,385 -5.0
Total Refunds:
Number 76,040,000 74,196,000 -2.4




Billion -0.8
Average refund $2,832 $2,878 1.6
Direct Deposit Refunds:
Number 65,780,000 64,694,000 -1.7




Billion -0.3
Average refund $2,989 $3,031 1.4

Free Tax Filing Services

With the tax deadline rapidly approaching, the IRS is reminding taxpayers that they can potentially use the IRS Free File service or go to a community tax-help site for free tax preparation and assistance.

Community Tax Help

IRS trained and certified volunteers at nearly 12,000 sites nationwide of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly  (VITA and TCE) offer free tax preparation and e-filing. These free tax help sites are generally located in nearby shopping malls, schools and neighborhood centers.

ITA offers free tax return preparation to taxpayers who earn $54,000 or less. The TCE program is mainly for people age 60 or older and focuses on tax issues unique to seniors. AARP participates in the TCE program and helps taxpayers with low- to moderate incomes.

Free File

IRS Free File is available for anyone who earned $64,000 or less last year. Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of 12 leading tax software companies, taxpayers can use their tax software to prepare and e-file their tax return at no cost. Visit the Free File section of the IRS website for details.

Choosing a Tax Preparer

The IRS Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers identify local preparers by type of credential or qualification.

All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. They must sign the return and include their PTIN. Ask about fees before providing personal financial records and receipts, and be sure to eview the return and ask any questions you have before signing it.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.