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Observers were hoping return totals would rise in the late stages of the tax season. Instead, the number of returns received, processed and electronically filed have worsened over the last three weeks of reports by the Internal Revenue Service. Returns received dropped 1.4 percent to 97,631,000 for the period ended April 1, compared to the corresponding period for tax season 2015 through April 3.

The number of returns processed, 94,988,000, was down 2.1 percent from a year ago, off by 2 million returns.

The falloff once again was from returns efiled by paid preparers. That total fell to 51,014,000 returns for the period ended April 1, down 3.7 percent from 52,963,000 a year earlier. That's a difference of 1,949,000 returns.

Self-prepared efiles rose by 3.5 percent to 38,959,000 from 37,645,000, an increase of 1,314,000 efiled returns.

The professional efiled return total was the worst percentage fall off since the 4.8 percent decline reported for the season through February 19. The pro-prepared returns improved each week through March 4 when the totals fell to 2.5-percent behind the prior year. That rate held for the March 11 report but has worsened in each of the last three releases of statistics.

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 Tuesday, 12 April 2016
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