Average Tax Refund by State

For most Americans, Tax Day has been in mid-April for decades. A time of dread for some but also a windfall for most looking to score a decent sized refund. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Tax Day was pushed to July 15th and folks are looking for another infusion of cash to get them through the difficult times. We took a look at last year’s refund data from the IRS to get an idea of what you can expect to receive this year if you’re looking at a refund:

  • The average IRS refund in the U.S. was $2,698 in 2019
  • States with the highest average refunds are Texas ($3,201), Louisiana ($3,079) and Florida ($3,012)
  • States with the lowest average refunds are Oregon ($2,327), Maine ($2,328) and Vermont ($2,349)
  • Many folks are in need of cash at this time and $2,700 would pay the mortgage for one or two months in most states

The Average 2019 IRS Refund by State

StateAverage RefundStateAverage Refund
Illinois$2,822.25North Dakota$2,814.67
District of Columbia$2,808.07Tennessee$2,802.09
South Dakota$2,740.28Arizona$2,728.08
West Virginia$2.691.49New Mexico$2,685.09
North Carolina$2,646.12Nebraska$2,642.20
Colorado$2,604.89South Carolina$2,599.55
New Hampshire$2,584.05Rhode Island$2,548.02
Oregon$2,327.42Puerto Rico$2,045.31


We took a look at the latest IRS data from 2019 to make our list. The IRS provides the total dollar amount of personal income tax refunds by state each year. They also provide the total number of personal income tax refunds by state so we simply did the math above.

We should also stress that your personal income tax return may vary, regardless of the state you’re living in. These are just averages after all and your situation could be different in an important way.

The Good & Bad of Getting a Big Tax Refund

While it’s a great feeling to get some money back from the IRS each year, you could also look at it as a no-interest loan to the government for a year’s time. Those dollars could be paying off debt (saving you interest payments) or collecting interest in a savings account instead of waiting for it in the mail. So it’s not necessarily a good thing to be getting a massive refund each year (though psychologically it does feel undeniably great!)

Tax Filing Deadlines in 2020

The last date to turn in your annual tax return is July 15, 2020 this year. This is an extension from April that won’t be extended again. If you’re expecting a refund you should definitely have filed by now to claim your cash. The IRS is even paying 5% interest on that refund while you wait around for it. Filing safely from home, online has never been easier. And remember that if you can’t file by the July 15 deadline, you’ll want to file an extension, which will push your deadline to October 15, 2020.