I am asked random tax questions all the time. How many returns are audited each year? How many taxpayers received refunds last year?
I give the best answer that I can and move on. Most people do not question my answer, but I am sure they either believe I am a walking encyclopedia of tax knowledge or making it up. Fortunately, I am neither. My federal source is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Book.1
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Book is published annually by the Internal Revenue Service and contains statistical tables and organizational information on a fiscal year basis. The report provides data on collecting the revenue, issuing refunds, enforcing the law, assisting the taxpayer, and the budget and workforce.2
Douglas H. Shulman, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, noted that “during the fiscal year, IRS employees processed 230 million returns, including individual income, corporation income, and employment income tax returns. We provided $467 billion in refunds to these taxpayers and collected $2.3 trillion for the Federal government, provided taxpayer assistance through 305 million visits to IRS.gov, and assisted more than 78 million taxpayers through our telephone helpline or at walk-in sites. Of the 141 million individual income tax returns processed, almost 70 percent were filed electronically.”3
The IRS offers a web friendly interface of the Data Book on its website, which you can link to here.
Whether you are researching federal tax data for a purpose or just curious, the Data Book is a good place to start, and I encourage you to check it out.
- Internal Revenue Service Data Book, 2010, available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/10databk.pdf. ↩
- IRS Data Book, available at http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/article/0,,id=102174,00.html#_cc. ↩
- Douglas H. Shulman, Letter from the Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service Data Book, 2010, at iii, available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/10databk.pdf. ↩