The average American’s 2017 tax refund — and how they’ll spend it

According to recently released data, the IRS has processed 128.8 million tax returns submitted in 2017 so far, and has issued more than 97 million refunds. The average taxpayer who received a refund got $2,763, an increase of roughly 2% over last year. Here’s a closer look at the data and how Americans are planning to spend their tax refunds in 2017.

The average American’s tax refund

To be perfectly clear, we only know the IRS data on 2017 tax refunds (from returns for the 2016 tax year) through April 21, 2017. Since 11.6 million taxpayers filed extensions this year, we won’t know the finalized data for 2017 for quite some time.

Having said that, out of the 128.8 million returns the IRS has processed as of April 21, three-fourths resulted in a refund. $268.3 billion has been distributed to 97.1 million taxpayers, which translates to an average tax refund of $2,763. This is $52 more than the average refund at the same time last year.

It’s also interesting to note that taxpayers who had their refunds direct deposited had larger refunds on average. About 84% of refunds so far in 2017 have been direct deposited, with an average amount of $2,932.

How Americans plan to spend their tax refunds in 2017

According to a survey by GoBankingRates, the majority of Americans (79%) plan to either pay down debt or save their tax refund in 2017. Just a small percentage said they planned to use the money for a vacation or to splurge on a large purchase. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 41% plan to put the money in savings
  • 38% plan to pay off debt
  • 11% plan to use their refund toward a vacation
  • 5% plan to splurge on a purchase
  • 5% plan to use their refunds toward a big purchase, such as a car or home


You can read the other half of this article on USA Today here:

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