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IRS Oversight Board Reviews Tax Filing Season, IRS Strategic Planning

(Washington, DC) The IRS Oversight Board met on May 16, 2012 and discussed the tax filing season. The IRS reported it received 130 million individual tax returns and issued 95 million refunds to taxpayers for a total of $257 million by the end of April. The number of tax returns filed electronically by individuals continued to grow to almost 111 million from last year’s 104 million.

A major milestone for the IRS was the successful stand-up of the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2. Starting in January, CADE 2 began operating and processing tax returns daily. For decades, the IRS processed returns on a weekly basis. CADE 2 allows for faster processing of tax returns, which helped taxpayers receive faster refunds as soon as 10 to 21 days upon filing, as well as faster resolution to account issues.

The IRS reported some delays in processing certain returns early in the season. The problems were resolved by mid-February and the IRS continues to balance the need to deliver refunds in a timely manner while assuring that fraudulent returns are captured in the system.

By the end of April, 105.6 million inquiries were made to the “Where’s My Refund” application, compared to 61.3 million the previous year. Traffic on irs.gov continued to be robust, with 240 million visits by mid-April, a boost from almost 200 million for the same period in 2011.

Meanwhile, the level of service for toll-free telephone service was 68.4%, compared to 74.9% for the same period last year. The Board has called for additional funding for the IRS in FY2013 to improve toll-free phone service.

“The successful debut of CADE 2 is an enormous achievement for the IRS and for taxpayers. This is a significant milestone in tax administration, and the Board commends the IRS,” said IRS Oversight Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich, Jr.

The Board also discussed the development of an updated IRS Strategic Plan. The plan sets clear strategic goals for the IRS’ long-term direction; the existing plan provides guidance from 2009 to 2013.

“The Board works closely with the IRS to ensure that its performance meets the goals established in the IRS Strategic Plan; this allows for long-term continuity so that our tax administration system will move forward in a clear direction, regardless of changes in leadership, whether it’s at the IRS or in the White House. We look forward to working with the IRS in developing its next strategic plan,” commented Chairman Cherecwich.

At the meeting, the Board was briefed on the IRS efforts to reduce its real estate costs, and steps in implementing a section of the Affordable Care Act relating to charitable hospitals. The Board continued discussions on the IRS FY2013 budget, which is currently being considered by Congress, as well as the IRS request for FY2014 funding. The IRS also briefed the Board on its Real Time Tax initiative.

The next Board meeting will be held in Washington, DC in September 2012.

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