The table below shows the average IRS federal refund payment over the last few years.

Refund Payment/Filing Year
Average IRS Refund
2020 (current tax season)
$1,952 (est to date)
2019
$2,881
2018
$2,899
2017
$2,895
2016
$2,860
2015
$2,800
2014
$3,034
 Here is more refund information from the bigger online tax providers – > TurboTax ; TaxAct

Generally, if you e-file and use direct deposit, the IRS estimates that you should receive your federal refund between 8 and 21 days after they accept your return, unless the IRS does not send you a notification requesting additional information or an audit notice). The IRS has stated that it issues more than 90 percent of refunds within 21 days (see estimated refund schedule).

Also note that for the current tax season the IRS has announced that there will likely be tax refund payment delays. In particular for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) refunds may not be processed until after February 15th in order to perform further identity verification checks.

If you did not select the electronic deposit option, getting a paper check mailed to you adds about a week.  If your return was filed by mail, then your refund can take 4 to 6 weeks from the date the IRS receives a complete and accurate return. Once your return is accepted by the IRS, the IRS processes your refund based on the IRS E-file Refund Cycle Chart. Exact refund dates are based on IRS processing times and can be found in IRS Publication 2043 and IRS Topic 152 for both e-filed and mailed returns.

To find out online when the IRS currently expects to issue your refund, check the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool or IRS2Go mobile application which  is updated every night (3am to 6am EST) You’ll need to provide the following information from your tax return : social security number, filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of your expected refund.

Should I call the IRS if I haven’t received my refund?

Unfortunately calling the IRS won’t do anything to speed your refund since their call center staff are not the ones who process the (over 140 million) tax returns. The best option is still to use  check the “Where’s My Refund” page or IRS2Go application. See this article for how the IRS WMR and IRS2Go works and what each status means. If you do need to talk to a real IRS agent, this article contains some useful numbers based on what has worked for others.

When to Expect Your State Tax Refund

State refunds are processed by each individual state, so processing times will vary. As a general rule, you can expect your state tax refund within 30 days of the electronic filing date or the postmark date. To get the current status of your state tax refund, contact your state tax agency or search online for your state’s taxation website. See the table for some standard state refund processing times. Processing begins when the return is received and ends when we post the refund to your account. I will update as states release their latest processing cycle times.

Latest update : The IRS is conducting significantly more ID verification checks to deal with the increase in online tax fraud, which is also causing state tax agencies to add additional security measures resulting in delays in state tax refunds. For example, Hawaii’s taxpayers could see state refunds delayed, while a number of states are telling tax payers not to expect refund before March 1st.

StateE-FILED Return, Average Refund Processing TimePAPER Filed Return, Average Refund Processing TimeState Refund Checker
Arizona (AZ)Within 10 days of filingUp to 12 weeksAZ Check Refund Status
California (CA)Up to 2 weeks10 - 12 weeksCA Check Your Refund
Georgia (GA)30-45 business daysUp to 6 weeksGA WMR Site
Illinois (IL)2-3 weeks6 to 8 weeksIL Refund Checker
Louisiana (LA)Up to 60 days12 to 14 weeksLA Refund Status
Ohio (OH)Within 1 week6 to 8 weeksOH Check My Refund
Kentucky (KY)2-3 weeks8 to 12 weeksKY Refund Checker
Maryland (MD)Within 1 week~ 30 days to processMD Refund Checker
Michigan (MI)14 days6 to 8 weeksMichigan Taxes
New Jersey (NJ)4+ weeks12+ weeksNJ Refund Status Service
New York (NY)Up to 3 weeksUp to 6 weeksNYC Refund Checker
North Carolina (NC)Up to 8 weeksUp to 12 weeksNC Where is My Refund
Pennsylvania (PA)Up to 4 weeks8-10 weeksPA WMR Site
Utah (UT)7 to 21 daysUp to 90 daysUT Refund Checker
Virginia (VA)Up to 4 weeksUp to 8 weeksVA Refund Checker
Wisconsin (WI) Up to 4 weeksUp to 12 weeksWI Refund 123
Average Refund by State

Average Refund by State (Source : Business Insider)

I’m not going to be able to file my taxes in time. What should I do? If you can’t make that mid April deadline for filing your taxes then file an extension. The IRS says it received requests for 11 million extensions, which amounts to about 8% of all tax returns. Taxpayers who ask for an extension get an extra six months to file—your new deadline will be in mid October.  However you still need to make any expected tax liability payments. See this article for more details and restrictions on filing an extension.