Tax Professionals Report Tough Slogging

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Efilings perk up. Most tax professionals remain dour.

By Beth Bellor

Tax season data was a little brighter in week two. Returns received were up 28.7 percent over the previous week and processing increased 22.2 percent. Refunds were practically flying out the door at a rate 47 percent better than week 1.

MORE: Busy Season 2021 Gets Off to Weak Start
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Meanwhile, the latest CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer, updated March 8, shows most accountants reporting a “worse” year so far

How’s your tax season so far?

  • Much Better than Last Year: 11%
  • Somewhat Better than Last Year: 15%
  • About the Same: 25%
  • Somewhat Worse than Last Year: 33%
  • Much Worse than Last Year: 16%

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As of Feb. 26, the end of the second week of the current season, the IRS had received 45.3 million individual income tax returns, down 23.7 percent from the same calendar week in 2020. The Internal Revenue Service is quick to point out that it’s not a straight-up comparison because of 2021’s later start, so the week-ending dates align with day 33 of the 2020 filing season and only day 15 of the 2021 chart
It had processed 39.4 million returns, down 31 percent. That’s an 87 percent processing rate, not bad but not the agency’s usual mid-90s range, either.


Electronic filings totaled 43.9 million, down 22.6 percent. Tax professionals submitted 18.3 million of those returns, down 30.5 percent, and the DIYers’ 25.6 million tally was down 15.6 percent.

The pros held 41.8 percent of the market share.

Website visits

Visits to at 493.5 million were up 69.1 percent.


The IRS issued 28.3 million refunds, down 37.9 percent, in the total amount of $85.5 billion, down 38.8 percent. The average refund of $3,021 was down 1.4 percent.

Direct deposit refunds numbered 27.2 million, down 36.1 percent, in the total amount of $83.4 billion, down 37.8 percent. The average direct deposit refund of $3,063 was down 3.2 percent.


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