Here's the Average Tax Refund in Every State Last Year

The only thing most people like about tax season is getting a refund check they can put toward debt repayment, saving for a long-term goal, or just spending it on something fun. You deserve it after all the dull hours combing through financial records!

But some people get more back than others. And residents in some states get more than others, too. Below, we’ll look at which states had the largest tax refunds last year and what you can do to boost yours.

How big was your state’s average tax refund last year?

The table below lists the average tax refund for each state and the District of Columbia for the 2022 tax year — that is, taxes filed in 2023.

Read more: we researched free tax software and put together a list of the best options here

The gap isn’t as big as you might expect. Oregonians got the smallest average tax refund at $1,328.82 while Floridians took home the largest average refund at $1,793.80. But that’s only a difference of about $465.

Obviously, there are plenty of individuals in all states that received much higher and lower refunds than these averages. A lot depends on your income during the year and what sorts of tax breaks you qualified for. But getting a big refund isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

A refund is your own money that the government unnecessarily withheld from you throughout the year. You could’ve had this money much earlier if the government had taken less from each paycheck. So to some, getting a smaller refund is actually something to be happy about. It means they’re getting more of their money as they earn it.

How to maximize your tax refund (legally, of course)

But to most people, getting a big refund check is still something to be excited about, even if they wish they could’ve had that money sooner. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, there are still some things you can do to ensure you get the largest refund possible, including:

  • Choose the right tax-filing status: Not everyone has a choice in this, but if you can choose between, say, married filing jointly or filing separately or qualifying widow(er) or head of household, it’s good to check both options to see which rewards you the most.
  • Claim as many tax breaks as you can: Tax credits and deductions can help you reduce how much you owe. Your tax professional or tax-filing software should ask you questions to help you determine which tax breaks you qualify for.
  • Consider funding your IRA or HSA: If you didn’t max out your IRA or HSA contributions last year, you still have time. You could make prior-year contributions to these accounts before the tax deadline and then write these contributions off on your 2023 return. Contact your plan administrator to learn how to do this.

But whatever you do, make sure you take your time and do your taxes correctly. Fudging the numbers to increase your refund will also increase your risk of a tax audit and the penalties that come with lying on your return. If you’re unsure how to approach something, contact a qualified tax professional who can help you navigate it.

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