According to a study released Jan. 31 by financial technology company SmartAsset, nearly 7.317 million Florida tax filers will receive a 2018 refund this year from the IRS, totaling an estimated $24.4 billion, for an average federal income tax refund of $3,334 each.
The same SmartAsset projection forecasts 1.79 million state residents will owe the IRS this year for unpaid taxes from last year, paying out more than $1 billion collectively for an average tax bill of $5,796 each.
The calculations, based on IRS data collected during the 2016 tax year – the last year federal composite profiles are available in state breakdowns – take into account the revised tax codes adopted in the 2017 tax reform bill that lowered withholding rates in wage earners' paychecks, reducing taxes paid upfront and, subsequently, trimming the amounts in tax returns without any changes in tax filers’ metrics.
In 2018, according to SmartAsset projections, nearly 7.212 million Florida filers received a 2017 tax refund from the IRS, totaling an estimated $24.92 billion, for an average federal income tax refund of $3,452 each.
In the same calculations, SmartAsset projects more than 1.828 million state residents owed the IRS in 2018 for unpaid 2017 taxes, paying out more than $1.523 billion collectively for an average tax bill of $6,303 each.
The difference in the pre-tax reform bill 2017 tax calculations and the 2018 projections – the first year the new tax rates went into effect – indicate 97,170 more Floridians will receive tax returns this year than last year, but will collectively total about $500 million less, an average of $118 less for each return.
This year, according to SmartAsset’s figures, 34,570 fewer Florida taxpayers will end up having to pay the IRS back taxes than last year, collectively owing about $500 million less.
In its base analysis of 2016 IRS data, about 7.8 million tax filers received a refund, totaling $22.4 billion, for an average income tax refund of $2,877. For that year, Florida ranked 10th in the nation.
Researchers with SmartAsset also divided the total amount of money the IRS refunded in each county by the number of refunds the agency returned to taxpayers in each Florida county.
Based on that metric, four Florida counties ranked in the nation’s top 20 for highest-average projected tax in 2019 returns, based on 2016 data, with Collier County ranked first in the state and eighth nationally.
According to SmartAsset, 116,810 taxpayers in Collier County will receive money back from the IRS in 2019, with the average refund coming in at $6,087. The calculations estimate 40,830 taxpayers in the county will owe an average of $12,139 to the IRS.
Last year, Collier County also ranked first in the state and fifth in the nation with a projected 115,770 taxpayers receiving an average return of $6,878 from the IRS. The calculations estimate 42,750 taxpayers in the county will owe an average of $12,167 to the IRS.
According to the study, the other top five counties in 2019 projected average refund checks amounts are Monroe County (average of $5,778), 11th nationwide; Palm Beach County ($5,123), 17th nationally; Martin County ($5,122), 18th; and Indian River ($4,097), 44th nationwide.
SmartAsset also analyzed tax return data for the 2016 tax year to find states with the highest percentage of taxpayers who neither overpaid nor underpaid. Florida's taxpayers ranked among the 20 most accurate nationwide, coming in at No. 18, with 5.77 percent of returns that were right on the money.