The Internal Revenue Service saved about $14.19 million by not mailing out tax form packages this year, but the elimination of the mailings increased the burden on approximately 6 million taxpayers who needed to obtain the forms themselves, according to a new government report.
The report, by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, found that the IRS’s estimate that it had saved about $8.25 million as of July 27 by not mailing out the form packages was incorrect. TIGTA determined that the IRS overestimated its postage and printing savings by $2.08 million. On the other hand, the IRS did not include $8.02 million in savings realized by processing more tax returns electronically. In addition, the data the IRS used to identify taxpayers who would have received a tax year 2010 tax package and notify them they would not be receiving one were inaccurate.
Eliminating individual tax package mailings increased the burden for a number of taxpayers, including those who complained they could not locate the forms they needed or did not know which forms to use.
Taxpayers who did not receive Tax Year 2010 tax packages reported difficulties in obtaining forms, schedules and instructions. In addition to making it more difficult for taxpayers to voluntary comply with tax laws and file their tax returns, the IRS estimated it took the average taxpayer 15 minutes to obtain the forms they needed to file a tax return if they did not receive them in the mail. That translated into approximately 1.5 million additional hours in taxpayer burden for the nearly 6 million taxpayers who received a Notice 1400 and still elected to file a paper tax return without the assistance of tax return preparation software or a paid tax return preparer.
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