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Average Tax Refunds Plunge 17%, but Trump Isn't to Blame

February 27, 2019 / Sean Williams

Tax time: It's perhaps the perfect definition of a love-hate relationship. For most Americans, preparing your taxes is a chore. Working your way back through 12 months of finances, deductions, credits, and income can be laborious, even with do-it-yourself software or a tax professional by your side. To boot, Form 1040, which is the most basic of all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms, has more than 100 pages of instructions. Preparing your taxes stinks! There, I said it. On the other hand, the "reward" for preparing your taxes is often great. Historically speaking, about 3 out of every 4 taxpayers will receive a refund from the federal government. Over the past decade, the average refund tends to be around $3,000, give or take a couple hundred dollars. This income is often used to pay down holiday-season debt, to make discretionary purchases, to build up emergency saving accounts, or for investment and/or retirement purposes.