As the tax filing deadline approaches on April 15, I’d like to thank taxpayers for taking the time to file and pay their taxes. Our nation’s tax system is built around the concept of voluntary tax compliance, meaning citizens comply with their civic duty each year by preparing and filing their taxes – without direct government intervention.
This principle has helped make our tax system a model for the entire world. Thanks to taxpayers, this system helps fund our great nation. Each year, 95% of the gross receipts of our country flows through the IRS – about $3.5 trillion last year – funding critical aspects of the U.S., ranging from roads and schools to the nation’s military.
Behind the scenes, this couldn’t happen without the devoted work of IRS employees across America, in places like Atlanta, Austin, Ogden, Kansas City and elsewhere. We have employees in every state and working in numerous different capacities. Our employees interact with more Americans than any other institution, public or private. They make a difference, they care, and they take great pride in serving taxpayers and our country.
This year, their work has taken on even more importance as we faced the biggest tax law changes since 1986. Our teams labored through two holiday seasons, weekends and many even missed birthdays and family events to ensure IRS filing systems were starting in January 2019.
Due to these efforts, we’ve had a smooth filing season. Our IT systems set a new record in January, accepting more than 1.9 million tax returns in a single hour – that’s 536 tax returns a second. By the time the filing deadline hits more than 130 million tax returns will have been filed, and more than $250 billion in refunds will have been processed – all while helping protect against tax-related identity theft. Efforts to provide quality taxpayer services and protecting taxpayer data will always remain a priority for the IRS.
When taxpayers file their returns, they should feel confident that others are doing the right thing too. Fair but rigorous enforcement of the tax laws is critical to ensuring fairness in our tax system. Our employees who audit returns, collect taxes, and investigate fraud all work hard throughout the year to fairly enforce the laws while respecting taxpayer rights.
As the tax deadline approaches, I want you to know the IRS appreciates the time and personal effort everyone takes to file their taxes in support of our great nation. If someone needs tax help in the coming days, IRS.gov has many options available. And if more time is needed to file, don’t panic – taxpayers can file for an automatic six-month extension.
We sometimes refer to our employees as “IRS Ambassadors” recognizing that they routinely give back to their communities. Many volunteer to help low-income and older Americans prepare their taxes. When disaster strikes, thousands of our employees routinely help answer phone calls for victims calling in to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provide tax information at Disaster Recovery Centers and lend a hand providing security.
I’m very proud of every IRS employee. They remain dedicated to helping taxpayers understand and meet their filing obligations. Our employees make a difference, and they take pride in serving taxpayers and our country. We’re also hiring people to join our IRS family– if you know someone who may be interested, please suggest they visit usajobs.gov.
Beyond technical skills, the success of the IRS also depends on respecting taxpayer rights and treating everyone we encounter with fairness. My pledge to taxpayers is that we at the IRS will continue to keep taxpayer rights paramount in all of our interactions. Inside our agency, we understand, accept and value our differences, and strive to maintain an inclusive and diverse workplace, where employees treat each other with kindness and civility. We will continue to carry those values with us in all of our dealings with taxpayers as well. We believe every person is important, none more or less so than any others. By valuing and respecting each other, we are better able to move forward together.
I’m Chuck Rettig, and that’s why I’m proud to say: “I work for the IRS.”
Chuck Rettig is the 49th Commissioner of the IRS. He joined the agency in October after spending 36 years as a tax lawyer in private practice.