Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - Texas and Louisiana top the list of states where income tax filers receive the biggest average refunds, based on the most recent data from 2020. In Texas, nearly 78% of people who file receive an average of about $3,500. Louisiana ranks a close second with an average return just north of $3,300 for 80% of wage earners who submit a return to the IRS.

The IRS and the State of Louisiana will start accepting tax returns on January 29. Texas doesn't collect income tax from individuals, so filers there only need to submit the federal documents.

You should be aware of several things as you prepare to submit your return, especially that you should do it quickly to make sure no one else gets your money.


The problem of tax-related identity theft has existed since 2004, but has gotten exponentially worse in the last 20 years.

In short, criminals use your personal information, fill out tax forms in your name, and have any refund sent to an account they own.

If you submit a paper return, an electronic return may have already been filed, processed, and paid. The IRS flags your return or rejects it because, unbeknownst to you, your information has already been used and a refund issued.

You may try to file your return electronically, only to find out that's already been done.

Frightening, right?

The numbers communicate both good and bad news when you take a look at the numbers:

Processing Year# of Returns StoppedAmount of Refunds Stopped

The good news is that the IRS recognizes that there is an issue, and they are responding to the increasing frequency at which these scams are happening.

The bad news is that it IS still happening.

The two recommendations from the IRS are:

  1. File your taxes as quickly as possible.
  2. Request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). It's a six-digit number that prevents someone from filing a tax return using your Social Security or Individual Taxpayer ID number.


While the IRS won't accept your return until January 29, you can certainly gather all your documents and start inputting information or get your documents to your preparer so they can be sent as soon as the window opens.

If your adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2023 was $79,000 or less, you can file your federal return online for free. The IRS has partnered with trusted providers for the service.

Interestingly, the IRS in 2024 is piloting its own software to allow taxpayers to file directly through their site without a third party. The government-provided service will be optional to filers, so you can still choose which provider to use to file your return for free.

If you live in Louisiana, the Department of Revenue also offers a free online filing option. You'll need information from your federal return to file your state return.

NOTE: You cannot file with the State of Louisiana through the IRS website. You must use the Louisiana Department of Revenue site to file your state taxes.


The number of documents you need depends on your situation. Most folks need the items listed below, but it's a good idea to take a look at the full list on the IRS website, linked here, to make sure you don't miss anything.

  • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer ID
  • Bank account and routing numbers
  • AGI and exact refund amount from your last return
  • Your PIN from last year and possibly your IP PIN
  • Income documents (i.e., W2, 1099, etc)
  • Documents for credits
    • Child/dependent care expenses
    • Mortgage and property tax records
    • Donations
    • HSA or FSA contributions
    • Healthcare expenses
    • Retirement contributions
  • Documents from a side job or self-employment
    • Bank or income statements and documents
    • Receipts and mileage logs
    • Deductible expenses
    • Estimated tax payments


Generally, refunds are issued in less than 21 days, if you file electronically.

Truthfully, most filers will tell you their refund hit their account within 2 weeks.

You'll need to wait approximately 4 weeks if you use a paper return.

If you filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit, it may take a bit longer for verification. However, the IRS does note that refunds will start reaching bank accounts by February 27, 2024.

The "Where's My Refund?" tool is incredibly handy and available as an app. You can start tracking your return 24 hours after submitting it electronically.

You will need to remember how you filed (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, etc.) and the exact amount of the refund.


The federal deadline is April 15, and the Louisiana deadline is May 15. If you think you're owed a refund, please scroll back up because you'll want to file as soon as possible so no one else steals your money!

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