IRS releases Data Book for 2018 showing range of tax data including audits, collection actions and taxpayer service

For answers to your questions regarding tax returns, please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M., at 252-321-2020. The following materials were originally published by the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2018 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

The 2018 IRS Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, and includes information about tax returns, refunds, examinations and appeals. The annual publication is illustrated with charts showing changes in IRS enforcement activities, taxpayer assistance levels, tax-exempt activities, legal support workload and IRS budget and workforce levels when compared to fiscal year 2017 and prior years. Included this year is a section on taxpayer attitudes from a long-running opinion survey.

“Underlying the numbers in this year’s edition of the Data Book is the hard work of IRS employees,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our employees are the backbone of this agency, delivering our mission efficiently and effectively. They work hard to help taxpayers, and the numbers outlined in the Data Book reflect their commitment.”

Revenue Collection, Returns Processing, Taxpayer Service and Enforcement Actions

During fiscal year 2018, the IRS collected nearly $3.5 trillion, processed more than 250 million tax returns and other forms, and issued over 120 million individual income tax refunds totaling almost $395 billion.

The IRS received and processed more of every major type of form during FY 2018 than during the prior year, with the exception of estate tax returns; those filings were down slightly less than 1 percent compared to the prior year. However, filings by pass-through entities were up in FY 2018; partnerships filed almost 5 percent more forms with the IRS in FY 2018 than in the prior year, S-corporation filings were up almost 6 percent in the same time frame.

The IRS provided taxpayer assistance through more than a half-billion visits to IRS.gov and helped more than 64.8 million taxpayers through different service channels, such as correspondence, toll-free telephone helplines or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers. There were also more than 309 million inquiries to the “Where’s My Refund?” application, up 11 percent compared to the prior year.

Net revenue from delinquent collection activities rose to just over $40 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent compared to the prior year. IRS levies were up 8.3 percent compared to the prior year, but the agency filed about 8 percent fewer liens than in fiscal year 2017.

Compared to the prior year, there were fewer audits during fiscal year 2018. The IRS audited more than 892,000 individual income tax returns during the fiscal year, down slightly from the prior year.

Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey

The IRS Data Book contains the results of the 2018 Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey (CTAS) which drew from feedback from 2,000 taxpayers through cell phone, landline phone or online surveys. Their opinions continue to inform IRS’ efforts to improve taxpayer service. Some of the results of the survey for 2018 show the following results:

  • Most taxpayers continued to agree that it is not at all acceptable to cheat on their income taxes. This attitude has remained within a four-point range since 2009.
  • Most taxpayers are still satisfied with their personal interactions with the IRS.
  • Almost half of the taxpayers who responded in 2018 agreed that service and enforcement are properly balanced.

The IRS Data Book’s online format makes navigating data on taxpayer assistance, enforcement, and IRS operations easier. The publication contains depictions of key areas and quick links to the underlying data.

An electronic version of the 2018 IRS Data Book can be found on the Tax Stats page of IRS.gov. Printed copies of the 2018 IRS Data Book, Publication 55B, will be available June 2019 from the U.S. Government Printing Office. To obtain a copy, write to the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, or call (202) 512-1800 for voicemail or fax a request to (202) 512-2250.

Proposed Changes to Form W-4 Could Complicate Tax Filing

For answers to your questions regarding tax withholding options, please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M., at 252-321-2020. The following materials were originally published by Rachel Fausnaught of PrimePay.com.

…And you thought tax filing season was over.

Just when you thought you understood the IRS’ changes to withholding from last year, there are more changes coming.

The IRS plans to release a new Form W-4 that will incorporate changes brought on by the new tax law. This is to help ensure that the amount held back for taxes in each paycheck is more accurate.

The overall goal of this change is so that taxpayers shouldn’t owe anything or be owed anything once tax time rolls around.

Here are the proposed changes.

Last summer, the IRS released a draft version of the new Form W-4, seeking feedback on it. Here are some of the changes.

As for marital status, employees would now have three marital status options:

  • Single or married, filing separately.
  • Married, filing jointly.
  • Head of household.

Instead of claiming withholding allowances, the new Form W-4 gives taxpayers the option of providing annual dollar amounts for the following:

  • Non-wage income (ex. interest).
  • Deductions from income for the household (ex. itemized of other deductions).
  • Income tax credits expected for the tax year.
  • For employees who have multiple jobs, the total annual taxable wages for all lower paying jobs.

According to Ernst & Young, here are a few more things employers need to know.

Before implementing the income tax withholding calculation in Publication 15 or Publication 15-A, employers would need to adjust the employee’s pay period taxable wages according to the annual dollar amounts entered on lines 5 through 8 on the Form W-4 draft.

If an employee leaves those lines blank, federal income tax would be withheld according to the normal federal income tax withholding calculation. This means it will default two withholding allowances for single or married, filing separately and three withholding allowances for married, filing jointly or head of household.

The revised Form W-4 and the updated method of calculating federal income tax and withholding would apply to employees hired on and after Jan. 1, 2019. It would also apply to existing employees who change their Form W-4 at any time in 2019.

What’s next.

According to the IRS, another draft version of the new Form W-4 is expected by May 31. This will also seek public comment. Once the comments are reviewed, the plan is to post a second draft later in the summer, with the final Form W-4 version to be released by the end of the year.