The final stats are in from the IRS — and it looks like the average tax refund check isn’t all that different from last year.
The average refund check for the week ended April 19 was $2,725, according to the tax agency. That’s down 2% from a year ago.
In all, the federal government paid $260.9 billion in refunds to taxpayers, compared to $265.3 billion in 2018.
Under the new law, the standard deduction has been nearly doubled to $12,000 for single filers ($24,000 for joint) and a number of key itemized deductions have been curtailed. The personal exemption — once valued at $4,050 for each filer, spouse and dependent — has been suspended.
The new law also doubled the child tax credit to $2,000 per kid under 17.
Finally, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has trimmed down individual income tax rates across the board.Though the IRS data suggests that things aren’t all that different for individual taxpayers year over year, CPAs said that clients had plenty of surprises when they filed.
“Everyone wants to compare refunds from one year to the next, but that doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Debbie Freeman, CPA and director of financial planning at Peak Financial Advisors in Denver.
“They did generally see a benefit from tax reform, be it from the adjustment to their income tax brackets or from the larger child tax credit, ” she said.
“But they also saw less withheld in taxes, meaning they had more money in their paychecks, which created less of a refund,” Freeman said.