IRS head: End of tax season went 'smoothly'

IRS head: End of tax season went 'smoothly'
© Cameron Lancaster

The Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency received almost 4 million returns Monday — the deadline for filing tax returns in most states.

"I'm pleased to report that the last day of filing individual tax returns yesterday went very smoothly," Koskinen said at a House Ways and Means Commitee oversight subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

The tax filing deadline was Monday in most states rather than April 15 because of the observance of Emancipation Day in D.C. The tax filing deadline is Tuesday in Maine and Massachusetts because those states observed Patriots' Day on Monday.

The agency has received over 130 million returns and has issued about 90 million refunds, Koskinen said. Ninety percent of refunds have been processed within 21 days, he said. The agency expects that about 13 to 15 million people will have filed extensions.

Koskinen also said that there were "significant improvements" in the filing season over the last year because of the additional $290 million in funding that Congress provided for the agency. Of the additional funds, $178 million were designated for taxpayer service, which allowed the IRS to hire an additional 1,000 temporary employees to improve phone service, Koskinen said.

The average phone service level on the IRS' phones during the filing season was above 70 percent, which is signficantly higher than last year's level. After seasonal employees depart, the phone service level will drop significantly and the average level for the year will be about 47 percent, Koskinen said.