Earlier filings, fatter refunds

Minnesotans have been filing their federal tax returns earlier than usual this year, and they’ve been collecting fatter refunds, according to stats released today by the Internal Revenue Service.

The following Minnesota tax tidbits came courtesy of an IRS release:


  • As of March 6, 2009, the IRS had received an estimated 1 million federal income tax returns from Minnesotans, a nearly 2 percent increase over the same time in 2008. (Typical growth is usually less than one percent and same-week growth for the nation as of March 6 also was less than 1 percent.)


  • The average individual refund was $2,811, a 9 percent increase or $235 more than the same time last year.


  • Do-it-yourselfer Minnesotans also are e-filing their federal returns from their home computers in record numbers. As of March 6, nearly two out of five electronic filers chose to prepare and file on their own, contributing to growth of 17.5 percent in Minnesota.


  • The IRS notes that possible reasons for the larger refunds may include taxpayers benefiting from the recovery rebate credit and other tax breaks such as the first-time homebuyer credit and the additional standard deduction for real estate taxes. The average refund amount generally will decrease slightly as the filing season progresses.


  • More taxpayers choose to receive their refunds through direct deposit each year, receiving refunds much more quickly. As of March 6, more than 82 percent of all refunds were issued through direct deposit, up from 78 percent for the same period last year.


  • While the IRS has issued almost 3 percent more refunds this year compared to the same time last year, the number of taxpayers who choose to receive their refunds quickly and safely through direct deposit is up more than 7 percent compared to the same time last year. On March 6, the average direct deposit refund totaled $3,031.