Reports on Reduction in IRS Filings, Refunds Are Misleading, Treasury Says

The Treasury Department is refuting certain claims that the IRS has experienced a significant reduction in tax return filings and refunds. The 2019 tax filing season began timely on January 28, despite the recent 35-day partial government shutdown.

Tax Returns and Refunds

“Filing season has successfully launched with millions of tax returns having been filed,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement released on Friday of last week. However, the IRS released its 2019 filing season statistics, which show a decline in returns and refunds compared to 2018.

The IRS, having received 16,035,000 returns, has processed 13,306,000 as of February 1, 2019. However, the IRS previously processed 17,931,000 returns, having received 18,302,000, during the same week in 2018.

Additionally, the IRS has issued 4,672,000 total refunds as of February 1, 2019. However, the IRS had issued 6,171,000 total refunds during the same week last year. Moreover, nearly 30 million taxpayers are expected to have underpaid taxes in 2018.

Treasury Reports Are Misleading

“New reports on reduction in IRS filings and refunds are misleading,” Treasury said in a February 11 tweet. “Refunds are consistent with 2017 levels and down slightly from 2018 based on a small initial sample from only a few days of data.”

Government Shutdown Looms

As Congress continues to hash out a fiscal year 2019 appropriations package, federal agencies including the IRS and Treasury are on the brink of another shutdown. The current continuing resolution under which most federal agencies are operating is set to expire on February 15.

By Jessica Jeane, Senior News Editor

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