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.

Rank State Average refund Rank State Average refund Rank State Average refund
1 Connecticut $3,126 18 Arkansas $2,691 35 Colorado $2,539
2 Texas $3,033 19 Wyoming $2,688 36 South Carolina $2,532
3 New York $2,963 20 Tennessee $2,687 37 North Dakota $2,514
4 New Jersey $2,959 21 Massachusetts $2,682 38 Nebraska $2,502
5 Mississippi $2,944 22 Arizona $2,640 39 New Hampshire $2,496
6 Louisiana $2,939 23 New Mexico $2,603 40 Iowa $2,486
7 Florida $2,843 24 Kentucky $2,601 41 Michigan $2,481
8 Illinois $2,834 25 Washington $2,588 42 Ohio $2,465
9 Alabama $2,820 26 Indiana $2,572 43 South Dakota $2,463
10 California $2,809 27 North Carolina $2,566 44 Idaho $2,414
11 Utah $2,778 28 Pennsylvania $2,561 45 Minnesota $2,371
12 Georgia $2,767 29 Hawaii $2,561 46 Oregon $2,330
13 Oklahoma $2,748 30 Delaware $2,560 47 Wisconsin $2,329
14 Maryland $2,748 31 Kansas $2,552 48 Montana $2,299
15 Nevada $2,738 32 West Virginia $2,548 49 Maine $2,277
16 Alaska $2,721 33 Missouri $2,547 50 Vermont $2,254
17 Virginia $2,692 34 Rhode 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.