(Philadelphia) -- Less than a month before Tax Day, the IRS is reporting less people have filed returns compared to the same time last year.
The agency has processed nearly nine million fewer tax returns, or about 51 million overall.
But IRS Regional Spokesman David Stewart, who's based in Philadelphia, says it's to be expected since the federal fiscal cliff talks affected filing start dates. "We've received fewer receipts so far this year as compared to last year, but you've got to remember, we didn't open up the filing season until after January, and normally we open it up around the third or the fourth, and sometimes a little bit later."
Stewart says the average refund so far this year comes in at about $3,000.
Taxes must filed by April 15th.
Stewart says a benefit to filing online includes a guide as to whether or not people qualify for the earned income tax credit.
Stewart says people can file by visiting irs.gov or by calling 1-800-829-1040.
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