IRS logoThe Internal Revenue Service said today that the total number of tax returns received by the agency for the tax season through March 12 fell by 2.9 percent as the number of returns electronically filed rose by .2 percent. Meanwhile, taxpayers were turning away from professional preparers and towards self-prepared returns. All these trends have been viewed as a reaction to economic conditions.While the IRS termed the drop slight, it was greater than had been predicted by many observers before the season began in January.


The number of returns received for this tax season were 68.7 million  through March 12, down from 70.8 million a year earlier. The total processed was 64.3 million, down 4.9 percent from 67.6 million. While the number of refunds fell by 5.3 percent, the size of the average refund rose by 6.3 percent. The IRS said there were 57.8 million refunds, down from 61 million a year earlier. The average refund was $3,036, up from $2,770.

The 3.4 percent drop in the number of efield returns prepared by professional preparers was accompanied by a 6.9 percent rise in efiled self-prepared returns. Financial results released by H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt for their January quarter indicate that the drop in professional preparation has largely come at their expense as taxpayers turn to digital preparation, overwhelmingly via the Internet.

There were 35.51 million professionally prepared returns efiled for the period covered, down from 36.75 million a year earlier. The number of self-prepared filings rose to 21.29 million, up from 19.9 million.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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