Taxpayers received about $659 million in refunds during fiscal year 2023, representing a 2.7 percent increase in the amount of refunded to taxpayers in the previous fiscal year.

The refunds were on nearly $4.7 trillion in gross revenues collected by the Internal Revenue Service, which represents about 96 percent of the funding that supports federal government operations, the agency reported in its annual Data Book for fiscal year 2023, which was released April 18, 2024. This is down from more than $4.9 trillion in gross tax revenues in FY 2022.

Business income taxes declined in 2023 to nearly $457 billion in FY 2023 from nearly $476 billion in the previous fiscal year. Individual and estate and trust income taxes declined to nearly $2.6 trillion from just over $2.9 trillion. Employment taxes, estate and trust taxes, and excise and gift taxes all grew fiscal year-over-year.

More than 271.4 million tax returns and other forms were processed during FY 2023, the IRS reported. Of those, 163.1 million were individual tax returns. The report describes the 2023 filing season as “successful”.

Paid prepared filed more than 84 million individual tax returns electronically, and taxpayers file nearly 2.9 million returns using the IRS Free File program, the agency reported.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service reported it resolved 219,251 cases in FY 2023. The top five case types included:

  • Processing amended returns (36,171)
  • Pre-refund wage verification hold (26,052)
  • Decedent account refunds (12,695)
  • Identity theft (11,915)
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (10,507)

On the compliance side, the IRS reported that for all returns from tax years 2013 through 2021, it examined 0.44 percent of individual returns filed and 0.74 percent of corporate returns filed. Additionally, the agency examined 8.7 percent of taxpayers filing individual returns reporting total positive income of $10 million or more. Isolating tax year 2019 (the most recent year outside the statute of limitations period), the examination rate was 11.0 percent.

In FY 2023, the IRS said it “closed 582,944 tax return audits, resulting in $31.9 billion in recommended additional tax.” Additionally, the agency “completed 2,584 criminal investigations” across three areas:

  • 1,052 illegal-source financial crimes cases
  • 979 legal-source tax crime cases
  • 553 narcotics-related financial crimes cases

On the collections side, the IRS in FY 2024 collected more than $104.1 billion in unpaid assessments on returns filed with additional tax due, netting about $68.3 billion after credit transfers. It also assessed more than $25.6 billion in additional taxes for returns not filed timely and collected nearly $2.8 billion with delinquent returns.

By Gregory Twachtman, Washington News Editor