The Internal Revenue Service reported Thursday that more than 48 million tax refunds had been issued by the end of February, a 5.6 percent increase compared to the same period last year, with the size of the average tax refund also up.

As of Feb. 28, the average refund this year is $3,034, up 3 percent compared to the average refund amount for the same time last year. Nearly 88 percent of the tax refunds issued to date have been directly deposited into the accounts of taxpayers, saving them time and a trip to the bank, according to the IRS.

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