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IRS Looks Back at 2019, Gets Set for 2020

Michael Rainey

“The IRS touches more Americans than any other entity, public or private,” Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the agency’s annual report released Monday.

The document provides a summary of IRS operations in the previous fiscal year and an update on the status of the agency’s long-term strategic plan. 

Ahead of this year's tax-filing season, which the agency just said will start January 27, here are some highlights from the new 41-page report:

  • The IRS processed 255 million tax returns and forms in fiscal year 2019.
     
  • Gross tax receipts came to roughly $3.6 trillion, about 96% of the country’s revenues.
     
  • The average refund was $2,800.
     
  • Enforcement revenue totaled $57.5 billion.
     
  • Employment at the IRS grew by 1,593 full-time positions, for a total of 78,004 in 2019 (that number includes 12,600 temporary and seasonal workers).
     
  • Over the last 10 years, however, the IRS has lost nearly 30,000 full-time positions — and those losses "directly correlate with a steady decline in the number of individual audits during the past nine years," the report says. The situation could get worse over the next five years as nearly 20,000 employees — 31% of the workforce — retire, “creating a significant risk of a large knowledge and experience gap for the nation’s tax agency.”


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