It is probably a sign of things to come, just as Americans prepare to file their 2016 tax returns during 2017. Some 152,544,000 individuals filed tax returns last year, up only 1% from 2015 when the number was 150,991,000.
People have moved to the option to file electronically. In 2016, 131,851,000 people elected that option, up 2.4% from the previous year. Of the taxpayers who filed electronic returns, 78,736,000 used a professional to do their taxes, up only 0.4%. The number of people who did their own taxes was up 5.4% to 53,115,000.
Visits to the IRS website rose 3.6% to 507,723,789, over one and a half times the U.S. population.
And 111,069,000 people received refunds, which means they overestimated what they were supposed to pay. The government got to hold on to all that extra money for months. At current interest rates, that didn’t make a dent in the national deficit. The sum total of those refunds was $317.615 billion, which is an average of $2,860 a person.
This year, it will be easy to find how much they will get back, if they get back anything at all. The IRS has a system called “Where’s My Refund?”
Where’s My Refund? is updated no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight.
*Beginning in 2017, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS must hold your refund until February 15.
When to check status of your refund:
Within 24 hours after we’ve received your e-filed tax return; or
4 weeks after mailing your paper return.
For those who filed early, the check is in the mail, as the old saying goes.