April 8 (UPI) -- The Internal Revenue Service sent out $206.1 billion in tax refunds through the end of March, a drop of about 2.9 percent compared to the same period in 2018, government data show.
Through March 30, 2018, the government dispersed $212.3 billion in refunds. The total number of refunds also fell about 2.2 percent.
As the 2019 tax season has progressed, the average refund has gotten closer to figures seen during the same time period in 2018. In February, IRS data showed an 8 percent drop in the average tax refund compared to 2018. That difference now stands at a 0.7 percent drop, bringing the average refund to $2,873 through March 29, 2019.
The 2019 tax season is the first time Americans have filed taxes under the new Repulican-led tax overhaul, the most sweeping change to the tax code in some 30 years.
Some people saw smaller refunds than expected if they didn't adjust their paycheck withholdings after the changes took effect.
The tax season opened on Jan. 28. The 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, which affected the Treasury Department, ended three days earlier.
As of the end of March, the IRS has received some 92 million tax returns, about 47 million of which were handled by tax professionals.