March 24, 1993
IRS Forecasts April Blizzard of Tax Returns
WASHINGTON - Another blizzard of '93 may be in the
making. A record low number of early returns combined with the quickly approaching April 15
deadline may produce a blizzard of last-minute filings -- perhaps as many as 40 million in
a two-week period -- at Internal Revenue Service centers. The IRS has some simple advice
for taxpayers who haven't filed -- don't wait.
If you have a refund coming, filing now means that you can avoid the April rush. Early
filers often receive their money in about four weeks, but the wait will lengthen over the
next several weeks. The IRS also notes that returns filed close to the deadline often have
more mistakes -- likely the result of the haste of last minute filing -- that can delay
refunds. Even with the increased volume of returns, the IRS expects to process all refunds
by the end of May.
If you owe taxes you may also want to file soon, especially if you can't pay the full
amount. You can now ask the IRS for an installment plan when you file. Just attach Form
9465 -- or a note -- to the front of your tax return, explaining how much you propose to
pay each month. The IRS will reply within 30 days. The sooner you start your installment
payments, the less you'll pay in interest and penalties, which now total 13 percent a
If you did not have enough tax withheld last year, you should also act now to avoid
this problem next year. Get a 1993 Form W-4 from your employer or the IRS and use it to
find the proper number of withholding allowances for your situation.
Even taxpayers needing extra time to do their returns are taking action now. About
17,000 automatic extension requests have already come in, compared to 10,000 at this point
last year. The IRS expects a little over 5 million filing extensions this year, about the
same as the last few years.
You can get an extra four months -- until August 15 -- to file your return by sending
Form 4868 to the IRS by April.. 15. This filing extension does not give you more time to pay
your taxes owed. You must estimate your total tax and pay any balance due with the Form
4868 or the IRS will not grant the extension.
As of March 19, the IRS had received 52.5 million returns, 8.3 percent fewer than this
time last year. This continues a sluggish filing pace that has produced the fewest returns
for this period in the past five years. The IRS expects to receive 117 million individual
income tax returns this year.
This year's slower pace may be due to taxpayers finding smaller refunds -- or even
unexpected balances due, a result of last March's automatic withholding rate adjustments.
Most employees had bigger paychecks in 1992 because less tax was taken out during the
year. There was no change in the final tax paid, but for some taxpayers, the reduced rate
have meant smaller refunds or even balances due.
This month, the average refund has also lagged behind last year's. Last weeks average
refund of $888 was 2.4 percent below the average for the third week of March 1992. The
average for all refunds this year is $986, just $6 over the average for the same period
If you need federal tax forms or publications, you should also act soon to get them in
time to beat the deadline. Call the IRS toll-free number -- 1-800-TAX-FORM -- before
April, or check your local bank, post office or library for available forms.
1993 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative through the week ending 3/30/92 and 3/19/93
1992 1993 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns:
Total Receipts 57,284,000 52,512,000 -8.3
Total Processed 47,525,000 43,520,000 -8.4
Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts:
Electronic Filing 9,559,000 10,712,000 12.1
1040PC Format 716,000 2,068,000 188.9
TeleFile 115,000 131,000 13.9
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number 36,341,000 33,649,000 -7.4
Amount of Principal $35.618 billion $42.751 billion -6.8
Average Refund $980 $986 -0.6
(NOTE: these amounts should NOT be compared to the "processed"
numbers above, since those figures reflect Service Center
processing, which is completed at least a week before refunds
are certified at the Computing Center)
Taxpayer Service Filing Season Statistics
through 4/2/92 through 4/3/93
calls answered 12,201,443 12,152,942
Tele-Tax calls 20,060,011 17,763,906
Technical tapes 3,030,018 3,082,777
Refund Info. 17,029,993 14,681,129
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