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IRS Data Book for FY 2021 Reveals Collection of $4.1 Trillion in Taxes

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
May 31, 2022

IRS Data Book-240

The IRS has issued its Data Book for fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020-Sept. 30, 2021), revealing that the agency collected $4.1 trillion in taxes, compared to $3.5 trillion in FY 2020. According to the CPA Practice Advisor, the Data Book includes 33 tables describing a wide variety of IRS activities, from returns processed, revenue collected and refunds issued to the number of examinations conducted and the amount of additional tax recommended. It also includes budget and personnel information. The Data Book provides point-in-time estimates of IRS activities as of September 2021. The IRS also issued a lengthier discussion of recent data.  

In his introductory letter, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic continued to present some of the greatest challenges in our agency’s history, and the way our employees responded illustrates the significant role that the IRS plays in the overall health of our country.”

He added, “During Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, IRS employees processed more than 261.0 million tax returns and other forms, including 167.9 million individual in come tax returns, an increase of 6.8percent from FY 2020. Electronically filed individual returns accounted for 90.0 percent (151.1 million) of these. More than 12.2 million business returns were filed, an increase of 7.7 percent from last year. Of these returns, 10.6 million were filed electronically, up from 10.4 million in FY 2020. 

In discussing the release of the Data Book, Rettig said "The IRS was called on to provide economic relief during this national crisis while also fulfilling our agency's core responsibilities of tax administration; IRS employees answered Congress' call to deliver two more rounds of Economic Impact Payments and also implemented changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and other refundable credits as part of the American Rescue Plan. The breadth of these missions has strengthened my belief that a fully functioning IRS is critical to the success of our nation." 

With regard to pandemic relief, the Data Book reported that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 authorized rounds of stimulus payments, and that the IRS started issuing checks on March 12, 2021, the day after it was signed. It also reported that the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credits allowed individuals who did not receive their first- or second-round EIPs, or who received less than the amounts they were eligible for, to claim the credits when they filed their 2020 tax return. 

The American Rescue Plan also included an important change allowing up to half of the tax year 2021 Child Tax Credits to be disbursed as advance payments to eligible families from July through December. As a result, during the second half of 2021, more than 37 million families—covering more than 61 million qualifying children—received more than $93 billion in advance CTC payments. 

With regard to collections, according to the CPA Tax Advisor, the Data Book reported net revenue through enforcement by the collection function equaling almost $60 billion, an increase of 54 percent over the prior year. As part of its collection activities, the IRS observed an increase in the use of payment plans. Almost 2.4 million taxpayers established new payment plans with the IRS during FY 2021, an increase of 29 percent compared to FY 2020. In addition, the IRS collected nearly $13.7 billion through installment agreements in 2021, up by 9 percent from the prior fiscal year. 

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