Average Tax Refunds in America

93.6 percent of Americans got a tax refund in 2014

By Brandon Ballenger

This map ranks states by the average tax refund its residents got in 2014. Hover your cursor over a state to see how it ranks, and click a state for more details. Check it out, then see our analysis below.

All data comes from the newly released IRS Data Book for Fiscal Year 2014, which covers October 2013 to September 2014. Although the IRS has data for business and estate taxes, we only used data for individuals, including people who are self-employed.

RankStateAverage refundRankStateAverage refundRankStateAverage refund
1Connecticut$3,12618Arkansas$2,69135Colorado$2,539
2Texas$3,03319Wyoming$2,68836South Carolina$2,532
3New York$2,96320Tennessee$2,68737North Dakota$2,514
4New Jersey$2,95921Massachusetts$2,68238Nebraska$2,502
5Mississippi$2,94422Arizona$2,64039New Hampshire$2,496
6Louisiana$2,93923New Mexico$2,60340Iowa$2,486
7Florida$2,84324Kentucky$2,60141Michigan$2,481
8Illinois$2,83425Washington$2,58842Ohio$2,465
9Alabama$2,82026Indiana$2,57243South Dakota$2,463
10California$2,80927North Carolina$2,56644Idaho$2,414
11Utah$2,77828Pennsylvania$2,56145Minnesota$2,371
12Georgia$2,76729Hawaii$2,56146Oregon$2,330
13Oklahoma$2,74830Delaware$2,56047Wisconsin$2,329
14Maryland$2,74831Kansas$2,55248Montana$2,299
15Nevada$2,73832West Virginia$2,54849Maine$2,277
16Alaska$2,72133Missouri$2,54750Vermont$2,254
17Virginia$2,69234Rhode Island$2,539

Analysis

Getting a tax refund is not a good thing. It means your paychecks are smaller than they should be, and you gave the federal government an interest-free loan for the entire year. That’s money you could have been using to pay bills on time, saving yourself some stress, late fees, and interest charges. If you’re already doing that, it’s money you could be using to get ahead in life.

But when we get a fat check, we often don’t know what to do with it — some are tempted to blow it on something big, like a new TV. Others get nervous about having a pile of money and avoid thinking about it, so they fritter it away on small purchases instead of making a plan.

With that in mind, Connecticut has nothing to be proud of at tax time. It barely beats the national average on the percentage of the population getting a refund, and gets the biggest average refund in the country. Nearby Vermont, on the other hand, had the lowest average refund — but more than 91 percent of its tax filers still got one.

If we look at both metrics together, Montanans seem the most savvy about taxes. They get the second-smallest average refund, about $2,300. And they also have the second-lowest percentage of the population getting a refund, at 84.7 percent.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii — where people sure could use the extra money year-round to cope with crazy-high gas prices — 99.43 percent of tax filers get a refund. That’s the highest refund rate in the country.

Want to start keeping more money in your pocket? Learn how to adjust your tax withholding.