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15 facts to make tax day a little more interesting
Not everything about tax day has to horrible. At the very least, you can learn a little about the inner-workings of the IRS. - photo by JJ Feinauer
Not everything about tax day has to be horrible. There are plenty of interesting facts to keep your mind busy during the lead up to the IRS' deadline for tax filing.

With the help of our friends at WalletHub, we've compiled a list of 15 facts about American taxes to help give context to some of the frustration that comes with April 15.

Budget cuts

The IRS has seen an 18 percent cut in funding since 2010, according to WalletHub, which has led to a 20 percent decrease in staff. According to the Washington Post, the cuts may be one factor that has contributed to increasing problems with customer service at the IRS. According to WalletHub, 60 percent of calls to the IRS went unanswered through mid-February 2015.

Identity theft

According to WalletHub, there has been more than a 700 percent increase in tax identity theft cases since 2010. According to the IRS official website, tax identity theft usually occurs when an identity thief uses a Social Security number to file a fake return. According to the IRS, victims usually dont become aware of the scam until they try to file a return and learn that one has already been filed.

Wait time

According to WalletHub, the average time people spend on the phone waiting to speak with someone at the IRS is 28 minutes. According to their research, in 2010 the average time was 11 minutes. The Washington Post reports that this is likely due to a combination of more work and reduced resources.

Great expectations

According to WalletHub, the IRS is anticipating 150 million individual tax returns to be filed in 2015. By Jan. 31, 14 million tax returns had already been filed.

The average refund

According to the IRS, the average tax refund is worth $3,539.00. The IRS also reports that 96 percent of returns were paid through direct deposit.

Electronic filing

According to WalletHub, 80 percent of returns are expected to be filed electronically this year. Roughly 13 million of the 14 million that have already been filed (as of Feb. 6) were done online.


According to WalletHub, traffic to has increased 12 percent since last year. As of March 27, 247 million people had visited the IRS website. In 2014, there were 181,196,235 visits to

Counting the losses

According to WalletHub, the IRS lost $6.5 billion in 2014 due to fraudulent tax refunds. The IRS expects somewhere near $21 billion in losses due to tax fraud in 2016.


According to WalletHub, roughly 6 million households are expected to pay the fee for not acquiring health care this year. People who received insurance subsidies or who didnt have coverage will need to file new forms and make tedious calculations, The Washington Posts Jonnelle Marte wrote in January. However, Marte also points out that taxpayers who didnt have coverage last year may be able to avoid the penalty if they qualified for one of 33 exemptions that allow them to avoid the fee.

In the trillions

WalletHub reports that Americans are expected to pay $1.5 trillion in taxes this year, up from $1.4 trillion last year. According to the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation, the average American pays an income tax rate of 10.1 percent.

Words upon words

According to Wallet Hub, there are 4 million words in the U.S. tax code. Thats five times the number in the Bible and four times whats in all the Harry Potter books combined.

Taxes take time

According to WalletHub, the total amount of time that will be spent preparing tax returns this year will likely reach 6.1 billion hours. Wallet Hub also notes that the cost in time will reach roughly $168 billion. The average American will likely spend 16 hours filing their return this year.

The cost

According to WalletHubs research, the average American will spend $260 on filing their return this year. Thats 3.3 percent less than what was spent in 2006.


According to WalletHub, 60 percent of those filing their taxes this year will seek professional help. According to the IRS, one-third of those filing taxes this year will do so in the two weeks prior to the deadline.

The good news

According to Quartz, the average American will receive a return of about $3,000 this year. Of this, the average person elected to receive $2,800 back and left $200 with the IRS to pay future taxes, Quartzs Jay L. Zagorsky wrote Monday.
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