2018 IRS Data Book is hot off the press

Written on Jun 12, 2019

The IRS has released the 2018 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

The 2018 IRS Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, and includes information about tax returns, refunds, examinations and appeals. The annual publication is illustrated with charts showing changes in IRS enforcement activities, taxpayer assistance levels, tax-exempt activities, legal support workload and IRS budget and workforce levels when compared to fiscal year 2017 and prior years. Included this year is a section on taxpayer attitudes from a long-running opinion survey.

“Underlying the numbers in this year’s edition of the Data Book is the hard work of IRS employees,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our employees are the backbone of this agency, delivering our mission efficiently and effectively. They work hard to help taxpayers, and the numbers outlined in the Data Book reflect their commitment.”

Revenue collection, returns processing, taxpayer service and enforcement actions

During fiscal year 2018, the IRS collected nearly $3.5 trillion, processed more than 250 million tax returns and other forms, and issued over 120 million individual income tax refunds totaling almost $395 billion.

The IRS received and processed more of every major type of form during FY 2018 than during the prior year, with the exception of estate tax returns; those filings were down slightly less than 1% compared to the prior year. However, filings bypass-through entities were up in FY 2018; partnerships filed almost 5% more forms with the IRS in FY 2018 than in the prior year, S-corporation filings were up almost 6% in the same timeframe.

The IRS provided taxpayer assistance through more than a half-billion visits to IRS.gov and helped more than 64.8 million taxpayers through different service channels, such as correspondence, toll-free telephone helplines or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers. There were also more than 309 million inquiries to the “Where’s My Refund?” application, up 11% compared to the prior year. 

Net revenue from delinquent collection activities rose to just over $40 billion, an increase of 1.6% compared to the prior year. IRS levies were up 8.3% compared to the prior year, but the agency filed about 8% fewer liens than in fiscal year 2017.

Compared to the prior year, there were fewer audits during fiscal year 2018. The IRS audited more than 892,000 individual income tax returns during the fiscal year, down slightly from the prior year.

Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey

The IRS Data Book contains the results of the 2018 Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey which drew from feedback from 2,000 taxpayers through cell phone, landline phone or online surveys. Their opinions continue to inform IRS’ efforts to improve taxpayer service. Some of the results of the survey for 2018 show the following results:

  • Most taxpayers continued to agree that it is not acceptable to cheat on their income taxes. This attitude has remained within a four-point range since 2009.
  • Most taxpayers are still satisfied with their personal interactions with the IRS.
  • Almost half of the taxpayers who responded in 2018 agreed that service and enforcement are properly balanced.

The IRS Data Book’s online format makes navigating data on taxpayer assistance, enforcement, and IRS operations easier. The publication contains depictions of key areas and quick links to the underlying data.

An electronic version of the 2018 IRS Data Book can be found on the Tax Stats page of IRS.gov. Printed copies of the 2018 IRS Data Book, Publication 55-B, will be available June 2019 from the U.S. Government Printing Office. To obtain a copy, write to the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, or call 202-512-1800 for voicemail or fax a request to 202-512-2250.

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