Taxpayers received tax refunds averaging $2,913 in 2011, down 3% from the average refund of $3,003 in the prior year, according to the latest filing statistics released by the IRS.
The agency delivered a total of 109.3 million refunds during the year, adding up to a total of $318.5 billion. That's down slightly from 2010, when 109.4 million refunds were given out, totaling $328.4 billion.
However, add to it a smaller majority who are no longer alive, some illegal immigrants who went back with no forwarding addresses, 401(k) plans and in some states, issues with the social security numbers. Their refunds are held on to by the IRS.Direct deposit was the most popular way for taxpayers to receive refunds last year, with more than 79 million refunds deposited into accounts -- up 6% from 2010.
More than 75% of taxpayers filed returns using the agency's free online e-filing system, an increase of nearly 14% from the previous year. While the majority of e-filers hired tax professionals to submit their taxes, the number of taxpayers preparing their own taxes jumped by 14%.
The Internal Revenue Service owes refunds to approximately 100,000 tax payers for the past year. However, it is holding onto those tens of millions of dollars as it has not been able to deliver the refunds to consumers owing to mailing address errors.
To avoid missing a refund in the mail, the IRS recommends that taxpayers opt for direct deposit of their returns when they file their taxes.
If you did opt to have a refund check mailed to you this year, you can check the status of your refund and resolve delivery issues by using the tool on the IRS website.
Source: Blake Ellis, CNN Money