Tax Returns Keep Rolling In to the IRS
The IRS expected to receive approximately 150 million individual income tax returns this filing season – and the agency is well on its way to meeting or eclipsing that mark.
The IRS noted last Thursday  that, as of February 21, it has received nearly 49.6 million individual income tax returns – about one-third of the amount the nation’s tax-collection agency projected before the start of the 2014 filing season on January 31. The number of returns is up 0.2 percent from the 49.4 million filed at this time last year.
Also, 48.3 million of the 49.6 million returns submitted, or 98 percent, have been processed, up almost 13 percent from the 42.8 million processed by February 22, 2013.
A majority of the tax returns the agency has received were filed electronically. According to the IRS, 46.6 million returns were e-filed by taxpayers, up 1.1 percent from 2013. Tax professionals have e-filed roughly 24.7 million taxpayer returns, down 3.6 percent from the 25.6 million returns practitioners e-filed at this time in 2013. However, more people have e-filed their taxes from home, as evidenced by the 6.9 percent increase this tax season (22 million in 2014 versus 20.5 million in 2013).
“We’re in the middle of filing season, in some ways the most important activity we have. We expect to process approximately 150 million tax returns, which is a stunning number when you think about it, and over 80 percent will be filed electronically,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated  during a stop at the IRS processing center in Fresno, California, on February 27. “Thus far, almost 50 million returns have been received, and 90 percent of those have been filed electronically. This is consistent with prior years, but we expect when the dust settles, over 80 percent will be filed electronically.”
Other data the IRS released last week include:
- Refunds are up 6.2 percent compared to this time last year (40.4 million in 2014 vs. 38 million in 2013). The average refund as of February 21 is $3,116 compared to the average refund of $2,990 reported at this time in the 2013 filing season. Almost 90 percent of refunds were directly deposited into taxpayers’ accounts.
- The number of visits to the IRS website  has dropped 6 percent compared to this time last year: 155.2 million visits in early 2013 versus 145.9 million visits in early 2014. Koskinen has urged taxpayers to head to the IRS’s website for answers to their tax-related questions rather than call the agency for assistance. Recent budget cuts have had a negative effect on IRS customer service , as the agency only answered six in ten phone calls in 2013.
2014 Tax-Filing Season Off to a Roaring Start