Filing taxes is rarely fun, but some taxpayers are at least enjoying a slightly bigger refund from Uncle Sam in the 2014 tax season.

By the end of February, the average tax refund handed out was $3,034, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday. That's up 3% compared with the same period a year ago.

Americans seem more eager than ever to get their paperwork done for the year.

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More than 48 million refunds had been issued by Feb. 28, up 5.6% from the same time last year, the tax agency said. About 88% of those refunds have been direct deposits to taxpayer bank accounts instead of paper checks.

The IRS said it had received nearly 40% of all the tax returns expected this season. More than 57 million individual tax returns have been processed, up nearly 11% from last year.

Rather than blowing their refunds on shopping trips or vacations, many taxpayers say they plan on using their extra cash more thoughtfully, according to one survey from TD Ameritrade.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they will save or invest their refunds, the survey said. More than 20% say they will pay off debt, and nearly that amount plan to buy necessities.

Only 19% of those surveyed say they plan to splurge or make purchases that were not needed, the survey said.

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