NEW YORK (CBSNEWS.COM) – Individual tax refunds this year have been only slightly smaller than last year, but those shortfalls are adding up. At the end of last month, the amount of money the government refunded was $6 billion below this time last year, according to IRS figures.

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As of March 29, the Treasury had issued 71.8 million refunds. This time a year ago it had issued 73.4 million. So while the average refund, at $2,873, is only $20 less than it was last year, about 1.6 million fewer people are getting refunds, the IRS said.

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