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The average tax refund is up 3% to $3,034 so far this year, according to data out Thursday from the Internal Revenue Service. The average refund for those who get direct deposit is slightly higher at $3,096.

Surveys show most Americans plan to use their refund toward paying down debt, though an Edward Jones survey of more than 1,000 adults found those between 18 and 34 were the most likely to say they planned to spend their refund on shopping or going out.

More Americans are preparing their own tax returns and filing electronically this season, the IRS data show.

The IRS has also processed more tax returns this year than at the same point last year, up nearly 11%, the data show. A month into filing season, it has received nearly 40% of the total returns it expects to receive for 2014.

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