Everybody thought that the IRS would be incapable of collecting as much tax revenue as years past with a reduced work force. The loudest voices crying for a bigger tax collection budget came from within the IRS and from the Taxpayer Advocate. The prevailing thought was that the IRS was just going to have to do more with less. And apparently that’s just what they did.
According to a report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in 2013 the IRS increased total gross collections by 13 percent compared to 2012. The IRS collected an unfathomable $2.9 trillion in fiscal year 2013, including $50.2 billion from enforced collections such as wage garnishments, bank levies, and seizures. Interestingly these numbers were achieved with fewer examinations, fewer tax liens, and fewer levies & seizures. It is difficult to tell what all this means. Maybe the IRS is less likely to nail people for making mistakes on their taxes, filing late, and paying late. But I think it is also safe to say that when they do catch you, they really sink their teeth in. Maybe you think you’re safe because the IRS has bigger fish to fry, but if this report is any indication, I think the IRS is casting smaller nets and throwing fewer back.