According to filing season statistics for the week ending on February 10, 2023, the IRS had processed slightly over 26.6 million tax returns, indicating a 13.6% rise from the corresponding period in 2022, where 23.4 million returns had been processed. For tax professionals, there has been an 11% year-over-year increase in the adoption of e-filing compared to the same period in 2022. For taxpayers, the increase in e-filing is at 3.4%.
As of February 10, more than 94% of the 28.8 million returns that had been received were e-filed, which has significantly contributed to the faster processing of returns. E-filed tax returns typically result in refunds being issued within three weeks, while complete and accurate paper returns eligible for a refund can take between 6 to 8 weeks to process.
More or less return files on the 2023 tax return
The IRS issued over 13 million tax refunds, which is a 48.4% increase from the 8.9 million refunds sent out in the previous year. However, taxpayers received an average refund of $1,997 for tax returns processed through February 10, compared to $2,323 during the same period in 2022, resulting in a 14% decrease from the previous year.
The reduction in the average refund amount can be attributed to several factors, including the fact that many credits have returned to pre-pandemic amounts, such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Child and Dependent Care Credit. Additionally, the removal of the above-the-line charitable deduction could further reduce the refunds received by taxpayers.
The number of taxpayers visiting the IRS website during this tax season has decreased
Compared to the previous year, the IRS has observed a 13.4% decline in website traffic, which many attribute to the improved accessibility of IRS representatives by phone to address tax pros’ and taxpayers’ queries. According to an IRS spokesperson, there has been a substantial rise in calls made to the Practitioner Priority hotline and taxpayer phone line, with customer service representatives answering 89% of these calls, and 93% of them being answered, taking into account automated responses such as chatbots. In the same period last year, the IRS could only respond to 13% of calls.
While it’s still early in the tax season, this is a promising beginning. The IRS is anticipating about 168 million individual tax returns to be filed this season, and there is still much work to be accomplished.