Article — Statistics from the IRS Data Book

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February 2013 was the hundred-year anniversary of the Sixteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which gave congress “the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes.” In March, the IRS released the annual data book of statistics about current taxing activities. No money was collected back in 1913. What do the numbers look like after a century of taxation?

IRS Data Book 3d

Image source: US Government Printing Office

Between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, the IRS

  • processed 237 million individual, corporate, and employment income tax returns
  • collected $2.5 trillion in gross taxes
  • paid out 123.4 million refunds totaling more than $373.4 billion

Other data reveals that

  • 61% of returns processed were individual returns
  • 81% of individual returns were e-filed
  • 97 million taxpayers received assistance through the IRS toll-free hotline and walk-in sites
  • $322 billion was refunded to individuals
  • $2,700 was the average refund amount
  • 2.6 million math errors were identified on individual returns
  • 2 million notices were sent to taxpayers about those errors

During the same period, more than

  • 3,000 IRS employees worked to prevent refund fraud and help identity theft victims


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