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Monday February 17, 2020

Washington News

Washington Hotline

IRS Website Visits Increase

On April 2, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported interim results for the 2019 filing season. As the April 15 filing deadline (April 17 in Massachusetts and Maine) approaches, taxpayers are calling the IRS in record numbers and expanding their use of IRS.gov.

Through March 30, 2019, IRS website visits are up 10% from 324 million to 358 million at the same time last year. Part of the reason for greater use of the website was the decline in IRS call services. During the 2019 filing season, 26.5 million taxpayers called the IRS. There were automated replies to 9.5 million callers. Over 3.1 million callers were able to speak with an IRS representative.

The call service was rated lower in 2019. The 2019 service rating was 55.6%, compared with a 78.3% rating for the prior year. Callers in 2019 waited an average of 13 minutes on hold compared with an average of 6 minutes on hold during the 2018 filing season.

Over 92 million returns have been received. The average 2018 tax-year refund of $2,873 is about 1% below the 2017 average refund of $2,893.

The IRS continues to improve software design to reduce identity theft refund fraud. By February 8, 2019 the Service had identified 3,741 fraudulent returns. It rejected requests for $16.7 million in suspected fraudulent refunds.

Published April 5, 2019

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