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Data and tax lovers: IRS 2016 stats

The IRS has just released its Fiscal Year 2016 (Oct 2015 to Sept 2016) Data book.  For those of you who love data – what can you read behind these facts (hint: less audits)?  At the end of the post, I’ll give you some stats from 100 years ago about US tax rates which you may find surprising… or…annoying.

IRSAccording to the Data Book for 2016, the IRS:

  • Processed more than 244 million tax returns and other forms
  • Collected more than $3.3 trillion
  • Issued more than $426 billion in tax refunds
  • Audited just over 1 million tax returns of individuals (down almost 16 percent from FY 2015). This is less than ½ of 1% of all returns filed
  • Overall, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the IRS collected, net of credit transfers, almost $37.4 billion in unpaid assessments on returns filed with additional tax due.
  • The IRS assessed close to $12.5 billion in additional taxes for returns not filed timely and collected almost $2.3 billion with delinquent returns.
  • The IRS assessed $27.3 billion in civil penalties (Of this amount, approximately $12.1 billion was assessed in civil penalties on individual and estate and trust income tax returns)
  • Overall Enforcement Actions Decline in 2016
  • IRS levies were down 40%
  • Tax liens filed were down 9%

And finally, the Data Book notes: This year marks 100 years since the Revenue Act of 1916 became law.

As promised, here are some further eye catching stats from 100 years ago:

  • In the calendar year ended December 31, 1916, personal returns in the number of 437,036 were filed, showing an aggregate net income of $6,298,577,620, income tax (normal and additional) amounting to $173,386,694, an average tax of $396.73 and an average tax rate of 2.75% of the aggregate net income.  Here is the full report from 1916.  Who filed more returns – doctors or stock brokers?
  • When the income tax was fully established in 1913, the tax rate was 1%.  Few paid income tax to the IRS, as it was required only if you made $3,000 or more per year.  That year only 1 out of 271 Americans had to pay income tax
  • When the IRS 1040 tax form was first introduced in 1914, it had only 3 pages including the instructions.  Today, the 1040 has 101 pages of instructions alone.

 

 

 

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