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Sunday February 25, 2024

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Rising Traffic on IRS Website

Even though the 2024 filing season started a week later than normal, the IRS reports that website visits have increased 6% over last year. The IRS credits some of the inquiries to an improved "Where’s My Refund?" tool. There also are numerous other updates to the website that are designed to help taxpayers.

The latest available statistics as of February 16 show a lower number of total returns received and processed and a reduced number of refunds. However, the IRS stated on its website, "Considering the loss of seven days in this comparison, filing season statistics below show a strong start to filing season 2024, with all systems running well."

On February 15, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel testified before the House Ways and Means Committee. He noted, "I am pleased to report the 2024 tax filing season opened on schedule on January 29 and has gone smoothly so far."

By February 9, the IRS reported receipt of over 25 million individual tax returns. Nearly all returns were e-filed. These tax returns included 9.4 million filed by CPAs and other tax preparers and 15.6 million filed by taxpayers using online software.

The IRS issued 7.5 million refunds for a total in excess of $13 billion. The average refund this year has been $1,741.

An ongoing question for CPAs and other tax preparers is whether to wait for Congress to pass legislation. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 passed the House on January 31, but is currently on hold in the Senate. The bill would enhance the child tax credit, the low-income housing tax credit, enhance the research and development expense deduction, restore bonus depreciation and expand tax relief for some victims of designated disasters.

Commissioner Werfel has been adamant that taxpayers should immediately file returns. If Congress passes retroactive legislation, he indicates the IRS will quickly update its computers.

Melanie Lauridsen is a representative of the American Institute of CPAs. She agreed with Commissioner Werfel. Lauridsen stated, "This bill is moving very slowly. There is no guarantee it will pass. When it is all said and done, as Commissioner Werfel said, do not wait. File your returns. Go ahead and move forward. And that is pretty much a blanket statement."

Published February 23, 2024
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