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Tax Stats: April 2013

Our monthly collection of statistics from the world of tax.

Our fifth Tax Stat for April looks at the lower number and amount of refunds issued in the first part of tax season.

According to preliminary data from the Treasury, it issued fewer refunds by March 3, 2012, than in the same period in 2011, and the total amount of money refunded was down, too. The average refund, meanwhile, was off over $60 from last year. However, a number of forms weren’t available for much of the period covered, and there were delays in some processing some refunds, so it may turn out that that ground was made up during the rest of tax season.

Source: Interim tax data, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Just recently, the Treasury released preliminary figures for the first part of tax season. Surprisingly, given the late start to the season, individual returns received by March 3, 2012, were up over the same period in 2011, as were the number of e-filed returns. Paper-filed returns and Free Filed returns, on the other hand, were down.

Source: Interim tax data, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

A study by two professors, Joshua Blank and Daniel Levin, reveals that the IRS puts out far more press releases on criminal convictions and civil injunctions about tax fraud in the run-up to April 15 than during the rest of year.

Source: "When Is Tax Enforcement Publicized?" Blank and Levin

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In 2012, federal collections across a wide range of sources were up somewhat from 2011, according to a recent data release. They collected $2.524 billion in 2012, up from $2.414 billion. One of the biggest percentage increases -- though one of the small absolutely increases -- was in estate and gift taxes, which rose from $9.079 billion to $14.45 billion.

Source: IRS Data Book 2012

In fiscal 2012, the federal government collected $2.5 trillion in taxes -- about $1.3 trillion of which came from individual income tax. That and employment taxes account for almost four-fifths of federal collections.

Source: IRS Data Book 2012




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