The number of tax returns filed electronically and the amount of the average refund are both up compared with last year, the Internal Revenue Service says.

Through last Friday, IRS had received 13.3 million electronic returns, an 11 percent increase over the same period last year. The number of self-prepared tax returns filed electronically soared from 218,000 during the period last year to 624,000 this year.

Total returns filed so far have topped 23.7 million.

“More than half of the early filers have e-filed by computer or by phone,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti said Thursday. “These taxpayers appreciate the comfort of having more accurate returns and faster refunds.”

The average refund so far is $1,823, up 14 percent from last year. And 9.4 million returns asked for direct deposit of the money, an 18.7 percent increase.

IRS officials say the new child and education tax credits — which reduce taxes on a dollar-for-dollar basis — are the main reason for the higher refunds.

Leave a Reply