Most people are in the dark when it comes to how their tax returns compare with others. If you received a tax refund and want to know if you received more or less than the average American, we’ll go through all the most interesting tax filing and income tax statistics in recent years including:

  • The average tax refund amount.
  • The total number of refunds.
  • The total amount the IRS spent on tax refunds.
  • The total returns received and processed by the IRS.
  • How people choose to file their taxes (self-filing vs professional, and e-filing vs paper filing).
  • Tax filing statistics for 2023

We’ll also look at income tax statistics. Unlike tax filing statistics, which the IRS updates frequently, the latest data available for income tax statistics is 2020. This page will be updated as more recent data becomes available.

Also read: Tax Brackets & Federal Income Tax Rates for 2022 & 2023

The average tax refund by year

Here are the average tax refunds by year, over the past decade.

Tax yearAverage tax refund

Tax filing statistics for 2023

What is the average tax refund for 2023?

In 2023, the average tax return amount for individuals was $2,753. This is an 8.6% decrease from 2022, which was $3,012.

Number of refunds sent

In 2023, the IRS sent out a total of 85,935,000 tax refunds. This is a 3.1% decrease from 2022, when they sent out 85,935,000 refunds.

Total amount refunded

The total amount refunded by the IRS to all individuals in 2023, was $236 billion. This is an 11.4% decrease from 2022, when they refunded a total amount of $267 billion.

Returns received by the IRS

The IRS received a total of 137,144,000 individual tax returns in 2023, and processed 134,649,000 of them. The returns received decreased by 1.3% when compared to 2022, when the IRS received 138,942,000 returns.

Self-prepared filings vs professional filings

Statistics show that individuals prefer to file their taxes online, and it’s split between people who choose to self-prepare their tax filing versus getting help from a tax professional. In 2023, out of the 137,144,000 returns received, 132,009,000 of them were e-filed. Of that, only 70,492,000 were prepared by a tax professional, with the remaining 61,517,000 choosing to prepare the filing themselves.

Income tax statistics

Tax brackets

There are a total of seven tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. Your tax bracket is determined by your taxable income and tax filing status.

Tax brackets for 2023Taxes owed
Not over $11,00010% of taxable income
Over $11,000 but not over $44,725$1,100 plus 12% of the excess over $11,000
Over $44,725 but not over $95,375$5,147 plus 22% of the excess over $44,725
Over $95,375 but not over $182,100$16,290 plus 24% of the excess over $95,375
Over $182,100 but not over $231,250$37,104 plus 32% of the excess over $182,100
Over $231,250 but not over $578,125$52,832 plus 35% of the excess over $231,250
Over $578,125$174,238.25 plus 37% of the excess over $578,125

Lowest tax rate

The lowest tax rate is 10% of taxable income if your income is $11,000 or under.

Highest tax rate

If you make over $578,125 your taxes owed is $174,238.25 plus 37% of the excess over $578,125. This is the highest tax bracket in the US.

Tax rates are progressive

If you’re in the highest tax bracket, it doesn’t mean you pay 37% on your entire income. You pay taxes in each tax bracket, and only pay 37% on income over $578,125.

Average income tax rate

For the periods of 2010-2018, the average individual income tax rate was an estimated 8.2%. The total income reported during this period was $1.8 trillion.

For 2020, the average income tax rate was 13.6%. The top 1% of taxpayers paid a 25.99% tax rate while the bottom 50% of taxpayers paid a 3.1% tax rate.

Who pays the most in taxes?

The top 50% of taxpayers made up for 97.7% of all federal income taxes in 2020. The bottom 50% made up for the remaining 2.3%.

The top 1% of taxpayers paid an average tax rate of 26.8% while the bottom 50% of taxpayers had an average tax rate of just 4%.

The top 1% give away less of their income for taxes

In 2018, billionaires paid 23% of their income in taxes, while the rest of America paid an average of 28% of their income in taxes.

Average amount paid in taxes

In 2019, the average individual in the US paid $16,219 in income taxes.

Federal taxes vs state and local taxes

$3.4 trillion of all taxes paid to the government in 2019 came from federal taxes, while $1.9 trillion came from state and local taxes.

Individuals vs corporations

Surprisingly, 50% of the federal tax collected by the IRS came from individuals and only 4% of it came from corporations.

Also read: Common Tax Deductions & Credits For Individuals (2023)