Tax returns filed this season by tax professionals are down 1.3 percent so far compared to last year, while self-prepared returns are up 5.9 percent, according to the latest IRS statistics.
The statistics, which were released Thursday, compared tax filings as of March 22, 2014, to those of March 21, 2013. It found that of the 75,610,000 tax returns that have been filed electronically this tax season so far, 43,953,000 came from tax professionals, compared to 44,524,000 last year (out of a total of 74,420,000 e-filed returns as of the same time last year).
Meanwhile, self-prepared tax returns were running ahead of last year, with 31,657,000 filed so far this season, compared to 29,896,000 the same time last year.
Researchers see troubling signs in the figures. “Do the math and you’ll find professionals’ 60 percent share of the e-filing market last year has slipped to about 58 percent—a seemingly small amount that, nevertheless, translates into hundreds of thousands of returns and millions in lost revenues,” according to an analysis by Bay Street Group’s CPA Trendlines. “It’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing or reversing.”