Average tax refund down 8 percent so far this season

Average tax refund down 8 percent so far this season
The IRS says average tax refunds are down 8 percent so far this tax season.

(CNN) – Tax season is off to a slower start this year, and early filers are seeing smaller average refunds.

The Internal Revenue Service says the average refund so far is down about 8 percent under the first full year of the overhauled tax code, according to data the IRS released Friday.

Refunds for early filers are averaging $1,865. That’s compared to $2,035 for the 2017 tax year.

The total number of returns received by the IRS also dipped during the first week of the season, which ended Feb. 1. It’s down about 2 million returns, from about 18 million at this point last season to some 16 million so far in 2019.

This tax season will be watched closely for the real impact of the GOP-led tax overhaul in 2017, which ushered in the most sweeping changes to the tax code in three decades.

The new rules lowered most individual rates and nearly doubled the standard deduction. The legislation also included sweeping tax cuts for companies, lowering the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

Some workers saw a bump in their take-home pay after employers started using the new IRS income tax withholding tables.

But experts say people could see smaller refunds than expected if they didn't adjust their paycheck withholdings after the changes took effect. Others could see their tax burden increase because the revised code eliminated some popular deductions.

The average American taxpayer got a refund of about $2,700 last year, according to IRS statistics.

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