June 08, 1989
Less Extensions, But More Individual Returns
Fewer taxpayers this year asked for automatic extensions of
time to file their returns than the Internal Revenue Service had
anticipated, and more taxpayers used the standard deduction this
year instead of itemizing.
These are two of the findings reported by the IRS after the
1989 tax processing season.
The IRS says that it received almost ten percent fewer requests
for extension of time to file a return than it did last year. As of
May 26, 1989, only 5 million taxpayers filed Form 4868, which is
used to request the automatic extension, compared to the 5.7 million
received last year and the 6 million the IRS expected.
On the other hand, the IRS received a record number of
individual income tax returns this year. As of June 2, taxpayers
had filed over 105 million returns, up three percent from the 102
million filed by the same point last year.
More taxpayers are filing simpler returns this year, too.
Receipts of the two shorter forms -- 1040A and 1040Ez -- were up
over six percent each from last year. Receipts of Form 1040 were up
only a little over one percent, but the percentage of Forms 1040
with itemized deductions decreased by over three percent.
Almost 1.2 million refund returns were filed electronically
this year, up 99 percent over last year. Electronic filing, an
option for taxpayers in 36 states this year, will be available in
all 50 states next year.
More taxpayers received refunds this year. As of June 1 the
IRS authorized almost 71 million refunds to be mailed to taxpayers,
up slightly from the 70.3 million last year. The average refund is
smaller this year, however: $858 compared to $870 for the year.
The IRS said that certain filing trends emerged this year,
based on samplings done on returns during the filing season. Elderly
taxpayers tended to file somewhat later in the filing period, while
returns for those who could be claimed as dependents came in
somewhat earlier, the IRS said.
Use of the official IRS envelope decreased very slightly --
from 65.5 percent last year to 64.7 percent this year of returns
being sent in the IRS envelopes -- while about the same percentage
of taxpayers used their labels on the returns this year as had done
so in the past -- about 54 percent. Returns with paid preparer
signatures also stayed about the same, 46.9 percent of returns this
year compared to 47 percent last year.
Finally, more people than ever took advantage of free telephone
services offered by the IRS. Almost 23 million calls were received
over the toll-free phone lines set up to answer specific taxpayer
questions. Over 25 million calls came in to use the Tele-Tax system
of recorded tax messages or to check the status of refunds.
1989 Filing Season Statistics
Individual income tax returns received and processed
Cumulative through June 3, 1988, and June 2, 1989:
1988 1989 Change
Receipts 102,010,000 105,041,000 3.0
Processed 88,887,000 91,388,000 2.8
Electronically filed individual income tax returns
Cumulative for 1989 since Jan. 1: 1,159,001
Cumulative for 1988 for same period: 583,077
1989 increase over 1988: 98.8%
Refunds certified by Martinsburg Computing Center through
June 2, 1988, and June 1, 1989:
1988 1989 Change
Number 70,324,000 70,603,333 0.4
Amount of Principal $61,154 million $60,553 million -1.0
Average refund $869.61 $857.66 -1.4
Taxpayer Service filing season statistics
1/1/88 - 6/4/88 1/1/89 - 6/3/89
Toll-free phone 23.9 million 22.7 million
Tele-Tax calls 11.7 million 25.5 million
Previous | Next
1989 IRS News Releases | News Releases Main | Home