With tax season here, many taxpayers will soon await large federal refunds.

Americans’ average federal refund last year topped more than $2,800, according to the IRS. We thought it might be interesting to also take a quick look at any differences in individual income tax refunds by state.

Connecticut taxpayers recorded an average IRS refund of $3,218, the nation’s highest in 2011. Nevada ($3,192), Texas ($3,112), New Jersey ($3,099), New York ($3,071) and Louisiana ($3,006) also all exceeded the $3,000 mark.

If we factor in those taxpayers not receiving refunds, averages drop a few hundred dollars. By this measure, Nevada registered the highest refund, with an average of $2,651.

The smallest refund checks appear to be delivered to mailboxes in rural states: Montana, Maine, Vermont and North Dakota.

The following table shows federal individual income tax refund statistics, by state, for fiscal year 2011, the most recent state data available from the IRS:

 

           
State Total Tax Returns Total Refunds Total refund amount Average Refund Average refund for all returns
Montana 472748 371028 $861,552,000 $2,322.07 $1,822.43
Maine 621678 517490 $1,202,504,000 $2,323.72 $1,934.29
Vermont 316281 258790 $603,275,000 $2,331.14 $1,907.40
North Dakota 328299 253895 $610,581,000 $2,404.86 $1,859.83
Oregon 1733500 1383519 $3,376,311,000 $2,440.38 $1,947.68
Wisconsin 2738860 2240878 $5,519,025,000 $2,462.89 $2,015.08
Nebraska 854586 693922 $1,740,243,000 $2,507.84 $2,036.36
Hawaii 651371 528922 $1,338,269,000 $2,530.18 $2,054.54
Minnesota 2553974 2050934 $5,189,983,000 $2,530.55 $2,032.12
Ohio 5431137 4613444 $11,722,192,000 $2,540.88 $2,158.33
Iowa 1394596 1135210 $2,887,415,000 $2,543.51 $2,070.43
South Dakota 392330 313507 $799,313,000 $2,549.59 $2,037.35
West Virginia 780655 676279 $1,725,046,000 $2,550.79 $2,209.74
Idaho 660379 543936 $1,396,696,000 $2,567.76 $2,114.99
Michigan 4589501 3810809 $9,792,568,000 $2,569.68 $2,133.69
Kansas 1305935 1052521 $2,735,544,000 $2,599.04 $2,094.70
New Hampshire 661014 549952 $1,431,314,000 $2,602.62 $2,165.33
South Carolina 2033254 1712531 $4,458,037,000 $2,603.19 $2,192.56
Missouri 2683757 2230687 $5,826,748,000 $2,612.09 $2,171.12
Pennsylvania 6113169 5174301 $13,545,885,000 $2,617.92 $2,215.85
Rhode Island 505797 435332 $1,148,674,000 $2,638.62 $2,271.02
New Mexico 910968 756313 $1,998,489,000 $2,642.41 $2,193.81
Indiana 2974480 2556169 $6,770,852,000 $2,648.83 $2,276.31
North Carolina 4173493 3483018 $9,288,733,000 $2,666.86 $2,225.65
Kentucky 1851772 1597417 $4,261,893,000 $2,667.99 $2,301.52
Delaware 424722 359647 $966,114,000 $2,686.28 $2,274.70
Arkansas 1218547 1030286 $2,791,665,000 $2,709.60 $2,290.98
Alaska 372850 297562 $814,607,000 $2,737.60 $2,184.81
Colorado 2353168 1900738 $5,215,023,000 $2,743.68 $2,216.17
Washington 3156568 2633331 $7,343,081,000 $2,788.51 $2,326.29
Arizona 2693072 2228582 $6,225,903,000 $2,793.66 $2,311.82
Tennessee 2831182 2460429 $6,876,410,000 $2,794.80 $2,428.81
Oklahoma 1580878 1308324 $3,656,954,000 $2,795.14 $2,313.24
Virginia 3713289 3119070 $8,768,042,000 $2,811.11 $2,361.26
Massachusetts 3180907 2592557 $7,301,617,000 $2,816.38 $2,295.45
District of Columbia 320305 268766 $766,905,000 $2,853.43 $2,394.30
Georgia 4386168 3810041 $10,887,475,000 $2,857.57 $2,482.23
Alabama 2079192 1777096 $5,102,922,000 $2,871.49 $2,454.28
Wyoming 275564 228954 $660,175,000 $2,883.44 $2,395.72
Maryland 2774762 2313280 $6,693,504,000 $2,893.51 $2,412.28
Utah 1132471 975580 $2,833,672,000 $2,904.60 $2,502.20
California 16572467 13540352 $39,391,301,000 $2,909.18 $2,376.91
Florida 9508519 8285487 $24,171,516,000 $2,917.33 $2,542.09
Mississippi 1270066 1090765 $3,196,967,000 $2,930.94 $2,517.17
Illinois 6035398 5128075 $15,168,174,000 $2,957.87 $2,513.20
Louisiana 1979224 1686157 $5,068,035,000 $3,005.67 $2,560.62
New York 9243325 7753092 $23,807,424,000 $3,070.70 $2,575.63
New Jersey 4268414 3526260 $10,928,233,000 $3,099.10 $2,560.26
Texas 10902321 9414795 $29,301,928,000 $3,112.33 $2,687.68
Nevada 1257756 1083065 $3,457,612,000 $3,192.43 $2,749.03
Connecticut 1722768 1419287 $4,566,857,000 $3,217.71 $2,650.88


Note: Figures shown are for individual income tax returns only. Fiscal year totals also vary from other published estimates.

It’s hard to draw any conclusions from this data, given all the factors at play.

Verenda Smith, deputy director of the Federation of Tax Administrators, said she suspects refunds stemming from earned income tax credits could account for much of the variation. States with high concentrations of qualifying low-income individuals and families will, in turn, end up with larger average refunds.

Of course, homeowners and taxpayers making large charitable contributions also tend to receive higher refunds. And the yearly figures don’t take into consideration how workers adjusted their withholding tax allowance.

“There are lots of reasons why an individual’s refund will vary from their next-door neighbor,” Smith said.