Definition — By the numbers

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IRS publication 55B, the IRS Data Book, is an annual overview of the operations of the IRS. Here are questions based on information in this year’s Data Book (for fiscal year ended September 30, 2016).

1. How many tax returns do you think the IRS audited during calendar year 2015?

Per the Data Book

 

2. Of returns filed in calendar year 2015, do you think the IRS audited a higher percentage of or returns?

Per the Data Book

 

3. Of fiscal year 2016 audits, do you think the IRS conducted the majority via or ?

Per the Data Book

 

4. Can you name the three major categories of tax crimes?

Per the Data Book

 

5. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommends changes that will prevent those problems in the future. Taxpayers may submit an application for assistance to TAS. How many new requests for assistance do you think the TAS received during fiscal year 2016?

Per the Data Book

 

6. Do you think the IRS’s actual expenditures for fiscal year 2016 were or than in fiscal year 2015?

Per the Data Book

 

7. What do you think was the total cost of collecting $100 in fiscal year 2016?

Per the Data Book

 
8. Do you think the IRS had or employees in fiscal year 2016 than in fiscal year 2015?

Per the Data Book

 

Bonus Question. The Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue was created by an act of congress on July 1, 1862. What was the name of the first commissioner?

Per the Data Book

 

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The IRS audited a total of almost 1.2 million tax returns, approximately 0.6% of all returns filed in calendar year 2015.
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The IRS audited 0.7% of all individual income tax returns filed in calendar year 2015, and 1.1% of corporation income tax returns (excluding S corporation returns)
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The IRS conducted the majority of fiscal year 2016 audits, 70.7%, via correspondence. The remaining 29.3% were conducted in the field.

Legal source tax crime investigations involve activities, industries, and occupations that generate legitimate income. The Legal Source Tax Crimes Program also includes cases that may threaten the tax system, such as frivolous challenges to the legitimacy of the tax laws, unscrupulous tax return preparers, and fraudulent refund schemes. During fiscal year 2016, the IRS completed 1,594 legal source tax crime investigations.

Illegal source financial crimes relate to proceeds derived from unlawful sources, other than narcotics. These involve tax and tax-related violations, as well as money laundering. During fiscal year 2016, the IRS completed 1,338 illegal source tax crime investigations.

The Narcotics Program investigates narcotics-related tax and money laundering crimes. During fiscal year 2016, the IRS completed 789 narcotics-related financial crime investigations.

In fiscal year 2016, TAS received 209,509 new requests for assistance and closed 221,312 cases, including those received in a prior fiscal year.
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Actual expenditures were $11.7 billion for overall operations in fiscal year 2016, up from almost $11.4 billion in fiscal year 2015.

Taxpayer services funding, which includes processing for tax returns and related documents, and assistance to taxpayers filing returns and paying taxes due, accounted for $2.4 billion.

Enforcement funding, which includes the examination of tax returns, collection of balances due, and administrative and judicial settlement of taxpayer appeals of examination findings, represented $4.7 billion.

Operations support provides administrative services, policy management, and IRS-wide support. This appropriation also funds staffing, equipment, and related costs used to manage, maintain, and operate critical information systems supporting tax administration. The IRS spent more than $4.2 billion in operations support in fiscal year 2016.

The balance of expenditures, more than $384.5 million, was spent on capital asset acquisition of information technology systems.

The total cost of collecting $100 was $0.35 in fiscal year 2016, unchanged from the previous year.
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The number of full-time equivalent positions actually used to conduct IRS operations was 77,924 in fiscal year 2016, down from 79,890 in fiscal year2015.
George S. Boutwell, Massachusetts, Jul. 17, 1862 to Mar. 4, 1863.
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