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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.

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 April 2016
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