Tax season is January 1 through mid-April—when most individuals contact the IRS if they have questions about specific laws or filing procedures—and when the IRS is supposed to get the job done asap!
The closure of Government operations between October 1 and October 16, 2013 made an impact on the IRS like a student missing three weeks of class—not good. What’s happening this tax season? (source doc. here).
WHAT TIGTA FOUND (treasury inspector general for tax administration)
As a result of the Government closure, the IRS delayed the start of the filing season from January 21, 2014, to January 31, 2014. As of March 7, 2014, the IRS had received more than 67.1 million tax returns—more than 62.2 million (92.6 percent) were filed electronically and nearly five million (7.4 percent) were filed on paper. The IRS has issued more than 55.4 million refunds totaling more than $164 billion.
The IRS continues to expand identity theft filters to identify fraudulent tax returns. As of February 28, 2014, the IRS reports that it identified and confirmed 28,076 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft. In addition, the IRS identified 57,316 tax returns with $385 million claimed in fraudulent refunds and prevented the issuance of $336 million (87.3 percent) of the fraudulent refunds it identified. The IRS also identified 36,801 prisoner tax returns for screening.
The use of the split refund option to direct deposit a refund into multiple bank accounts continues to grow. Through March 6, 2014, a total of 585,331 individuals chose to split refunds totaling more than $2.6 billion into multiple accounts. However, TIGTA continues to identify that some taxpayers and return preparers misuse this option to direct a portion of a tax refund to a preparer for payment of services.
TIGTA also found that some paid tax return preparers continue to be noncompliant with Earned Income Tax Credit due diligence requirements, but the number has decreased substantially when compared to the same period last filing season.
Finally, the IRS plans to assist 5.6 million taxpayers through face-to-face contact at the Taxpayer Assistance Centers during Fiscal Year 2014, which is one million fewer taxpayers than were assisted during Fiscal Year 2013. As of March 8, 2014, approximately 46.3 million taxpayers had contacted the IRS by calling one of the various toll-free Customer Account Services lines. The IRS continues to offer more self-assistance options that taxpayers can access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including its IRS2Go app; YouTube channels; interactive self-help tools on IRS.gov; and Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook accounts.
However, the IRS did not always ensure that the self-help tools were updated with the most current tax information before the start of the filing season.
WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED:
This report was prepared to provide interim information only. Therefore, no recommendations were made in the report.*
At first glance, not bad. What did you think?
When I do my tax returns, shouldn’t there be a survey for how I want my tax money to be spent–as in a commitment to transparency and democracy?
Shouldn’t TIGTA publish those results too?
And what about social media? As TIGTA says, “As of March 7, 2014, the IRS reports approximately 2.3 million new downloads and updates of its IRS2Go mobile application, for a total of 5.5 million since its inception. As of March 10, 2014, there have been more than 83,000 new views of IRS YouTube videos and a 7 percent increase in Twitter followers, for a total of 81,605 total followers” (16).
I’m not following, but you can follow me at Government_Now
* Source: TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION Interim Results of the 2014 Filing Season. March 28, 2014. Reference Number: 2014-40-029 Final Report issued on March 28, 2014, Highlights of Reference Number: 2014-40-029, to the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner for the Wage and Investment Division.