IRS releases Data Book for 2017 showing range of tax data, including audits, collection actions and taxpayer service


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IR-2018-77, March 29, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2017 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

The 2017 IRS Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, and includes information about tax returns, refunds, examinations and appeals, illustrated with charts showing changes in IRS enforcement activities, taxpayer assistance levels, tax-exempt activities, legal support workload, and IRS budget and workforce levels when compared to fiscal year 2016. New to this edition is a section on taxpayer attitudes from a long-running opinion survey.

Revenue Collection, Returns Processing, Taxpayer Service, and Enforcement Actions
During fiscal year 2017, the IRS collected more than $3.4 trillion, processed more than 245 million tax returns and other forms and issued more than 121 million individual income tax refunds totaling almost $437 billion.

The IRS provided taxpayer assistance through almost a half billion visits to and helped more than 53 million taxpayers through different service channels, such as correspondence, toll-free telephone helplines or at walk-in sites. There were also more than 278 million inquiries to the “Where’s My Refund?” application.

Compared to the prior year, there were fewer audits and collection actions during fiscal year 2017. The IRS audited almost 934,000 individual income tax returns during the fiscal year, the lowest number of audits since 2003. The chance of being audited fell to 0.6 percent, the lowest coverage rate since 2002.

In fiscal year 2017, the IRS also continued a years-long effort to fight tax-related identity theft. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division completed 524 criminal investiga­tions of tax-related identity thefts.

Several collection actions fell during the fiscal year. IRS levies were down 32 percent compared to the prior year, and the agency filed about 5 percent fewer liens than in fiscal year 2016.

The IRS Data Book’s online format makes navigating data on taxpayer assistance, enforcement and IRS operations easier. The publication contains depictions of key areas and quick links to the underlying data.

The Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey (CTAS)

In 2017, more than 2,000 taxpayers provided the IRS feedback via cell phone, landline or online surveys. Their opinions will help inform IRS efforts to improve taxpayer service. Nearly all taxpayers (about 95 percent of respondents) said it is their civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes. Most taxpayers (79 percent of respondents) said that they were satisfied with their personal interactions with the IRS.

An electronic version of the 2017 IRS Data Book can be found on the Tax Stats page of Printed copies of the 2017 IRS Data Book, Publication 55B, will be available May 2018 from the U.S. Government Printing Office. To obtain a copy, write to the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, call 202-512-1800 for voicemail, or fax a request to 202-512-2250.