Office of Audit
INTERIM RESULTS OF THE 2020 FILING SEASON
Final Report issued on April 7, 2020
Highlights of Reference Number:† 2020-45-024 to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
The filing season, defined as the period from January through mid April, is critical for the IRS because it is during this time that most individuals file their income tax return and contact the IRS if they have questions about specific laws or filing procedures.† As of February 28, 2020, the IRS received approximately 59.3 million tax returns (with 95.7 percent electronically filed) and issued more than 45.5 million refunds totaling nearly $139.6 billion.
WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT
This audit was initiated to provide selected information related to the IRSís 2020 Filing Season.† The overall objective of this review was to evaluate whether the IRS timely and accurately processed individual paper and electronically filed tax returns during the 2020 Filing Season.† TIGTA plans to issue the final results of our analysis later in Calendar Year 2020.
WHAT TIGTA FOUND
Unlike any other filing season, the IRS is having to take unprecedented and drastic actions to address Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to protect the health and safety of its employees and the taxpaying public.† This includes closing Tax Processing Centers, Taxpayer Assistance Centers, and other IRS offices nationwide.† Starting Monday, March 30, 2020, the IRS directed all employees who are not currently teleworking but whose work is portable or can be adapted to work off-site to work from home (or an alternate location) including employees who are not currently on a telework agreement.† In addition, the IRS unveiled a new People First Initiative to help taxpayers facing the challenges of COVID-19.† This initiative includes a series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.† Information on the various actions the IRS is taking and the relief being offered can be found on the IRS website (www.IRS.gov/coronavirus).
The actions the IRS is taking in response to this pandemic will affect its ability to provide timely customer service and tax return processing.† As such, TIGTA plans to monitor and evaluate the IRSís response and implementation of actions taken and issue another interim report to provide real-time information on the 2020 Filing Season, including the challenges the IRS faces to implement the delay in tax return filing and payments to July 15, 2020, as well as likely backlogs.
During Calendar Year 2020, the IRS expects to receive approximately 155.1 million individual income tax returns (15.3 million filed via paper and 139.8 million electronically filed (e-filed)).† As of February 28, 2020, the IRS received approximately 59.3 million tax returns, of which more than 56.7 million (95.7 percent) were e-filed.† Refunds totaling nearly $139.6 billion have been issued.† Participation in the IRS Free File program has increased significantly this filing season.† As of February 28, 2020, more than 1.5 million Free File returns were received compared to the more than 1.3 million Free File returns received last year as of March 1, 2019.
The IRS continues to offer self-assistance options that taxpayers can access at any time, including its IRS2Go app, YouTube videos, and interactive self-help tools on IRS.gov.† In addition, the IRS offers Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.† As of February 28, 2020, taxpayers made 24.5 million total attempts to contact the IRS by calling the various customer service toll-free telephone assistance lines.† The IRS reports that it answered approximately 8.1 million calls with automation.† IRS assistors have answered more than 4 million calls and provided a 67.9 percent Level of Service with a 10-minute Average Speed of Answer.
WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED
This report was prepared to provide interim information only.† Therefore, no recommendations were made in this report.
READ THE FULL REPORT
To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:
Phone Number ††/† 202-622-6500
E-mail Address †/† TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov
Website†††††† ††††††/† https://www.treasury.gov/tigta