Accounting Employment Creeps Back Up

The pattern is there's no pattern.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

The wild swings of 2016 are behind us, as employment and compensation figures fluctuate but within mellow ranges, according to a new CPA Trendlines analysis.

MORE ON JOBS: Where the Jobs Are (and What You Need to Get Them) | Tax & Accounting Industry Shows Signs of Slowdown | CPA Firms Post 5% Growth Rate | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits
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High points year over year were tax prep at 3.6 percent, payroll at 4.3 percent, and women in payroll at 5.3 percent.
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With 4 Days Left, Tax Stats Were Still Down

Chart of IRS filing data for week ending April 14, 2017
[Click for larger image]
Pros move ahead in e-filings.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

With only days left to go in the 2017 tax season, the Internal Revenue Service still was seeing most statistics land below 2016 levels.

MORE TAX SEASON DATA: Refunds Edge Up as Tax Season Winds Down  | Tax Refunds Catching Up to Last Year | Tax Professionals Accelerate Filing Pace as Busy Season Heads for the Home Stretch | Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016 | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely | Tax Return Filings Still Lag, But Pros Hold 57% of Market | Tax Filings Down, but IRS Blames the Calendar
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According to data from the week ending April 14, the latest available, the only figures on the positive side remained total refunds and average refund per taxpayer.
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Refunds Edge Up as Tax Season Winds Down

IRS filing statistics for week ending April 7, 2017

Pros hold on to 57% of e-filings.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

The nationwide refund pool crept into positive territory, joining average refunds as the only statistics on the plus side.

MORE TAX SEASON DATA: Tax Refunds Catching Up to Last Year | Tax Professionals Accelerate Filing Pace as Busy Season Heads for the Home Stretch | Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016 | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely
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The data are for the week ending April 7, the latest available.
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Tax Refunds Catching Up to Last Year

Chart of of tax return data through March 31, 2017Pros gain more ground in e-filings.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

As tax season enters its final weeks, refunds remain the only positive figure on the chart.

MORE TAX SEASON DATA: Tax Professionals Accelerate Filing Pace as Busy Season Heads for the Home Stretch | Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016 | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely | Tax Return Filings Still Lag, But Pros Hold 57% of Market | Tax Filings Down, but IRS Blames the Calendar
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However, the total amount refunded is within 1 percent of where it stood last year at this time.
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Tax Professionals Accelerate Filing Pace as Busy Season Heads for the Home Stretch

Chart of IRS tax filing data through March 24, 2017

Still: Everything down but refunds.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

With busy season entering the last lap, tax professionals are only now starting to catch up with last year's pace.

MORE TAX SEASON DATA: Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016 | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely | Tax Return Filings Still Lag, But Pros Hold 57% of Market | Tax Filings Down, but IRS Blames the Calendar
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The latest count from the IRS shows 43.4 million returns e-filed by professionals, down about 6 percent from the same year-ago period. But that's an improvement from the previous report, which showed tax professionals trailing the year-ago pace by 7 percent.

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Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016

Chart of IRS data for week ending March 17, 2017
Data for week ending March 17, 2017

More e-filings handled by pros, but not by a large margin.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

How much difference can four days make? Or are there other issues?

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Five Ways to Protect Clients from ‘The Sleazy Six’ Tax Season Scams | Four Common Errors in Form 1098-T | Taxes: Beyond Income to Gas and More | Readers Sound Off: What Tax Season Decline? | Five-Point Action Plan for Turning Tax Scam Threats into New Opportunities | Liberty Tax Earnings Down 48% | H&R Block Lagging Behind Last Year
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Most 1040 data remains on a downturn from 2016, with only refund amounts edging barely into positive territory.
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Readers Sound Off: What Tax Season Decline?

Some are busier than ever, while others report a change in clientele.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

Our recent story, Tax Season Half Over but No One Is Celebrating, seemed to have some readers scratching their heads.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Five-Point Action Plan for Turning Tax Scam Threats into New Opportunities | Liberty Tax Earnings Down 48% | H&R Block Lagging Behind Last Year | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely | Tax Return Filings Still Lag, But Pros Hold 57% of Market | Tax Filings Down, but IRS Blames the Calendar
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Join the Busy Season Outlook Survey. Get the Results.

Filing statistics are down, according to the IRS (which should know).
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