Today the IRS released some key filing season statistics to show how they are doing compared to last year at this time.
So far the IRS has received some 49.6 million tax returns and has processed around 98 percent of them. A vast majority of those returns were filed electronically — about 46.6 million. If you hadn’t noticed, as much as the IRS loves sending taxpayers mounds of mail, they really do not like receiving it. Hence the constant emphasis on e-filing.
So far the IRS has paid out over 40 million tax refunds; most of them being directly deposited. As much as the IRS loves sending taxpayers mounds of mail, they really do not like sending paper checks. Hence the constant emphasis on direct deposit.
One stat that always blows my mind is the average refund amount, which is now over $3,000. I think that number tapers off as we approach the tax filing deadline since those who are eager to file early are typically the same people who expect a fat tax refund. Personally I would rather pay what I owe in April than give the government an interest-free loan throughout the year.
And finally, the statistic that has left me wondering is the irs.gov website traffic. This is one of the only stats that has dropped since last year. The only other stat that is lower this year is the number of e-filed returns by tax professionals, but this is probably going to continue to drop as the number of e-filed returns prepared by taxpayers from their home computers (self-prepared returns) continues to rise. Could the decreased website traffic mean that people are relying more heavily on tax software? Could it mean that taxpayers are turning to the phones more than in years past? There are a million possible explanations.