Rachel Sukeforth has already received her income-tax refund.

Make that refunds.

The 27-year-old from Litchfield filed her 2012 returns as soon as she could last month. Her state refund hit her bank account Wednesday, her federal refund on Saturday.

“Just in time to make a car payment,” Sukeforth said.

In Maine, 56,700 people have filed state income-tax returns, said Dennis Doiron, director of Maine Revenue Services’ income-tax division.

Refunds started going out last week. By Friday, the state hopes to have mailed 45,000.

The figures are behind this time last year, Doiron said, due to changes at the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS spent most of January making adjustments for the new American Taxpayer Relief Act. It began accepting and processing returns last Wednesday.

Many electronic filers submit their state and federal returns at the same time, Doiron said. By Feb. 5 of last year, Maine had received 87,200 returns.

“I think we’ll get caught up fairly quickly,” he said.

The state began accepting returns on Jan. 15. So far, 95 percent have come in as e-files. Maine tries to turn around most refunds in five to seven business days.

Doiron said the average refund is between $450 and $500. A majority are sent as direct deposit versus a paper check.

The state expects to see 670,000 to 680,000 income-tax returns.

According to its website, the IRS anticipates receiving 147 million income-tax returns this year, with 75 percent of people owed a refund. Most refunds take less than 21 days to process.

Although a New England spokeswoman said refunds had not yet started going out, both Sukeforth and Scott Parsons of South Paris said they’d received theirs.

Parsons said he always files early.

“I figure it’s my money, why wait to get it back?” he said. “I see a lot of people filing early — well, as long as they are getting a refund — because in these times everyone needs the money.”

Parsons, who plays in a band, paid bills, visited the Guitar Center and made a down payment on a trip to the British Virgin Islands for next year.

Sukeforth has some fun planned, too, with her refund, such as buying a plane ticket to a friend’s wedding in Florida.

Roger Latulippe of Auburn is anticipating both refunds.

“We used to procrastinate and wait (to file) until April,” Latulippe said. “It didn’t make sense. So for the last two years we filed as soon as we received our W-2s.”

He’s already thinking about the next tax season when he’ll lose two deductions, twin 17-year-old daughters.

The deadline for filing federal income-tax returns is April 15. The deadline for filing state returns is April 16, due to Patriot’s Day.

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