States With the Biggest Tax Refunds

Uncle Sam Pays Who?

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service returned more than $332.8 billion to people who filed an individual income tax return. This means that, on average, taxpayers received a $2,690 check from Uncle Sam in 2010, a figure that we’re on course to meet again in 2011. Preliminary statistics released by the IRS late last week have the average tax return hovering around $3,129 this year, but those numbers tend to go down as April 15 approaches and more people file. At this time last year, the average was a bit higher at $3,149. In sifting through last year’s statistics, MainStreet wondered if one state was more likely to get back more money than others. Using IRS data from the 2009 tax year, we divided the amount of individual income tax refund dollars received in each state by the number of individual tax returns filed there to get the average refund given in every state. Read on to find out if you live in a state that has tax filers that collected the highest – or lowest – average refund from the government in 2009. We’ll tackle the 10 states with the lowest refunds first and then look at who made out best for tax refunds last year. Photo Credit: Diana Cordell


10th Smallest Average Refund: South Dakota

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 321,538 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $747,393 Average Refund per Person: $2,324 Photo Credit:  Pink Sherbert Photography


9th Smallest Refund: Hawaii

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 561,241 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $1,302,790 Average Refund per Person: $2,321 Photo Credit:  www.bluewaikiki.com


8th Smallest Refund: Nebraska

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 715,961 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $1,660,003 Average Refund per Person: $2,319 Photo Credit: Kables


7th Smallest Refund: Alaska

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 267,141 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $618,513 Average Refund per Person: $2,315 Photo Credit:  Alaskan Dude


6th Smallest Refund: Wisconsin

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 2,335,626 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $5,405,690 Average Refund per Person: $2,314 Photo Credit: barcar


5th Smallest Refund: North Dakota

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 257,557 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $588,629 Average Refund per Person: $2,285 Photo Credit:  afiler


4th Smallest Refund: West Virginia

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 701,936 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $1,580,252 Average Refund per Person: $2,251 Photo Credit:  Stella Blu


3rd Smallest Refund: Vermont

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 268,981 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $597,855 Average Refund per Person: $2,223 Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten


2nd Smallest Refund: Maine

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 551,147 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $1,192,024 Average Refund per Person: $2,163 Photo Credit: Fortes


State with the Smallest Refund: Montana

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 390,645 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $838,104 Average Refund per Person: $2,145 Photo Credit:  gene1138


10th Largest Refund: Illinois

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 5,317,904 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $14,955,215 Average Refund per Person: $2,812 Photo Credit: laffy4k


9th Largest Refund: New York

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 7,896,076 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $22,281,025 Average Refund per Person: $2,822 Photo Credit:  video4net


8th Largest Refund: Texas

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 9,576,956 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $27,139,650 Average Refund per Person: $2,834 Photo Credit: Paul Garland


7th Largest Refund: California

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 13,951,427 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $39,928,472 Average Refund per Person: $2,862 Photo Credit: tensaibuta


6th Largest Refund: Washington, D.C.

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 261,974 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $752,070 Average Refund per Person: $2,881 Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon


5th Largest Refund: Florida

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 7,858,774 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $23,009,119 Average Refund per Person: $2,928 Photo Credit:  shutterbug fotos


4th Largest Refund: New Jersey

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 3,646,427 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $10,825,688 Average Refund per Person: $2,969 Photo Credit: shanafin


3rd Largest Refund: Connecticut

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 1,476,212 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $4,439,106 Average Refund per Person: $3,007 Photo Credit:  cliff1060


2nd Largest Refund: Wyoming

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 234,202 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $721,430 Average Refund per Person: $3,080 Photo Credit:  Whatleydude


State with the Largest Refund: Nevada

Number of Individual Income Tax Returns Filed: 1,125,764 Amount of Individual Income Tax Refund Dollars Received: $3,483,981 Average Refund per Person: $3,094 Photo Credit:  matze_ott


13 Common Tax Mistakes

Filing your own taxes this year? MainStreet put together some tips for how you can ensure that things go smoothly. For starters, read about the 13 common mistakes that many Americans make when preparing this returns or just check out our taxes hot topic for all the latest tips and tricks to maximize your refund! Photo Credit: Getty Images


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