Millions of tax filers won't visit an ATM or queue up at a bank teller to deposit the refund money coming to them: 85% of all tax refunds so far have been direct deposited rather than sent via paper check.
"For 57 million Americans, the refund check is no longer in the mail; it's already in the bank," the IRS said in a statement Thursday, noting that the total sum of direct deposit refunds so far is just over $170 billion.
Those who opt for direct deposit get their money at least a week sooner than filers who choose a check sent via snail mail, said the IRS.
All told, the IRS has received close to 83 million federal income tax returns as of March 21. Slightly more than 67 million refunds have gone out, with the average refund at $2,872. That's up about 2% from last year at this time.
Of the forms received, nearly 76 million were e-filed, with close to 44 million coming from tax professionals and about 32 million self prepared.
The IRS expects to get about 149 million individual tax returns by the end of the year.