Here's the Average Tax Refund Now That the Filing Deadline Has Passed

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  • Now that the tax-filing deadline has passed, the IRS has ramped up on issuing refunds.
  • So far, the average refund for the year is pretty substantial.

How does yours compare?

Filing taxes can be a somewhat stressful process. But if you're like most tax-filers, going through those motions had its benefits, because chances are, you wound up getting money back from the IRS this year.

The average refund so far this year is $3,103, per IRS data for the week ending April 15. Now to be clear, the average refund amount for 2022 could still change. That's because the IRS isn't done processing all of the tax returns it received already, and also because not everyone who's filing taxes for 2021 has gotten their return in.

It may be that some people who are owed refunds are filing their taxes late. (Incidentally, there's no penalty for being late with a tax return when the IRS owes you money.) Plus, some filers no doubt asked for an tax extension, so they may not submit their taxes until mid-October.

But still, $3,103 is a decent sum for the average refund so far. And it's a windfall that could do a lot of good things for your finances.

Putting your tax refund to good use

If you submitted your tax return on or around April 18, you may not have your refund yet. That's because it typically takes the IRS three weeks to process refunds for returns that are filed electronically. For tax returns that are mailed in, the turnaround time can be twice as long.

But once that refund hits your bank account, it's important to put it to good use. If you don't have a complete emergency fund, your best bet is to take that money and stick it into your savings account. Your goal on the emergency fund front should be to amass enough savings to cover at least three months' worth of essential bills.

If you're set on emergency savings, the next best thing to do with your tax refund is to pay off costly credit card debt. And if you don't owe money on your credit cards but have another expensive loan hanging over your head, like an auto loan with a higher interest rate, then you should use that money to chip away at it.

If debt isn't an issue for you, then you have options. You can use your tax refund to pad your IRA, improve your home, or take a class to improve your job skills. And if you're really in solid financial shape, you can consider using that money to pay for a purchase like new furniture or electronics.

For some people, a tax refund is a lifeline

While using your tax refund for the above purposes is a good bet, some refund recipients may not even have that luxury. Rather, they may need to use that money to cover near-term bills, like rent payments and food.

If you're in that boat and recently got a large refund, you might consider adjusting your withholding to make your paychecks larger. Doing so will likely result in a lower tax refund next year. But that way, you'll get more of your money upfront and can use it to keep up with the ever-climbing cost of living.

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