Collections, Activities, Penalties, and Appeals


This section of the IRS Data Book presents information on collections and penalties resulting from individuals’ or entities’ failure to comply with the tax code. Failure to comply with filing, reporting and payment requirements may result in civil penalties or, in some cases, criminal investigation. IRS’s Collection function collects Federal taxes that have been reported or assessed but not paid and secures tax returns that have not been filed. Additionally, this section presents data on the IRS Independent Office of Appeals workload. The mission of Appeals is to resolve tax controversies without litigation, on a basis that is fair and impartial to both the taxpayer and the Federal Government.

Graphic shows the amount of civil penalties assessed by the IRS in fiscal year 2020, a total of more than $31 billion. More than $14 billion was assessed on individual and estate and trust income tax returns; $4.5 billion was assessed on businesses.

View chart details XLSX. For additional graphs from this section, download the PDF of this year’s Data Book PDF.

Highlights of the Data

  • In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the IRS collected more than $60.3 billion in unpaid assessments on returns filed with additional tax due, netting $38.5 billion after credit transfers  (Table 25 XLSX).
  • The IRS assessed nearly $31.4 billion in civil penalties in FY 2020. More than $14 billion was assessed in civil penalties on individual and estate and trust income tax returns  (Table 26 XLSX).
  • During FY 2020, the IRS Appeals Office closed 62,997 cases, including those received in a prior fiscal year (Table 27 XLSX).

Index of Data Book Tables

Collection Activities, Penalties, and Appeals: Tables 25–27

Table 25: Delinquent Collection Activities, Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 XLSX
Table 26: Civil Penalties Assessed and Abated, by Type of Tax and Type of Penalty, Fiscal Year 2020 XLSX
Table 27: Appeals Workload, by Type of Case, Fiscal Year 2020 XLSX

Data for all years

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