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updated 3/31/2011 4:58:58 PM ET 2011-03-31T20:58:58

Here's a potential boost for the economy: The Internal Revenue Service expects to issue up to $300 billion in tax refunds this year.

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IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told Congress on Thursday the average federal tax refund is about $3,000 this year. The Internal Revenue Service has received a little more than 75 million returns so far, with about 65 million qualifying for refunds.

Shulman said the agency expects to issue refunds totaling $250 billion to $300 billion.

The best way to get a quick refund? File your return electronically, and have the refund deposited directly into your bank account.

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Shulman said taxpayers who file electronically can get refunds in less than three weeks. It takes about six weeks to process paper forms.

The filing deadline is April 18.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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