Stimulus Update: Average Americans Received 4.9% More Money From the IRS This Year

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KEY POINTS

  • Many Americans were eligible for stimulus money in 2021.
  • People who didn't receive their full payments could make a claim for the money on their tax returns.
  • This could be the reason that the average tax refund is 4.9% larger, on average, this year.


The IRS data reveals that tax refunds were larger this year than in the past.

Recently, the IRS provided data on the 2022 tax filing season. This was based on returns that people submitted for the 2021 tax year. According to the IRS information from April 22, 2022, the average tax refund was 4.9% higher this year compared with the prior year. Stimulus money could very well be the reason.

Here's why.

Stimulus payments have likely resulted in higher tax refunds

According to the IRS, the average refund in 2021 was $2,870. In 2022, however, the average refund increased to $3,012. This was a 4.9% jump up in the amount of money that the IRS is sending back to Americans. These refunds are generally deposited directly into bank accounts of taxpayers or are sent via mail.

The most likely explanation for why Americans are getting more money from the IRS this year is that millions of people have unclaimed stimulus payments from 2021. See, last year, the Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan Act. It provided several direct payments to Americans in the form of:

  • A $1,400 check per adult and eligible dependent
  • An expanded Child Tax Credit worth $3,600 per eligible child under age 6, and $3,000 for older children

These stimulus payments were structured so most people got all of the money from the $1,400 payments deposited into their accounts or sent to them last year, and they received half of the expanded Child Tax Credit last year.

However, people who added dependents in 2021; whose income changed to make them eligible when they weren't before; or who hadn't provided the IRS with recent tax returns generally received none of these payments. Anyone who was short the money was eligible to claim it by filing a 2021 tax return in the 2022 filing season. And all parents who qualified were eligible to claim the other half of their expanded Child Tax Credit that wasn't delivered to them last year.

Since many people were able to claim payments of $1,400 per eligible person in their household, and many others were entitled to claim at least half of the expanded tax credit, it's not surprising that tax refunds were higher this year than in the recent past.

Are you eligible for more money from the IRS?

If you're one of the many Americans who was owed stimulus money and if you've filed your taxes already for 2021, you should have received your payment from the IRS or should be getting it soon. Whether you have your money or not depends on when you filed your returns.

If you didn't submit a tax return this year but are owed money, it's not too late. You can still file a 1040 form to request the IRS send the payment that you deserve.

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