Tax Pros Take Bigger Share of E-filings

Refunds up, but not by much.

By Beth Bellor

Ever so slowly, the professionals are closing the gap with the DIYers in tax preparation.

MORE: The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | The Fight for New Tax Clients
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The Internal Revenue Service had received 139.9 million individual income tax returns as of the week ending June 26 – the latest data available – down 3.5 percent from the same period in 2019. It had processed 128.5 million returns, down 10.6 percent.
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The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns

data chartWhile tax professionals’ efiling pace remains stalled, DIYers grow by 4 million.

BUSY SEASON BAROMETER:
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By Beth Bellor

With less than a month to go before 2020’s extended tax deadline, the grind continues.

MORE: Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed
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And the question is: Where are 10 million tax returns that should have been filed by now by professionals?

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Pros Filing More Returns than DIYers

Chart of IRS tax return data for the week ending June 5, 2020… in the tax season that never ends.

By Beth Bellor

Bleak but slightly less so.

MORE: Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed | Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns
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That’s probably the best way to categorize the trends in the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service.

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Tax Pros Hold Slimmest of Margins in E-filings

data chart
Data for the week ending May 22

But those filings remain down 17 percent.

By Beth Bellor

Bright spots keep popping up in the Internal Revenue Service’s weekly data on filings. Yay!

MORE: Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed | Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns | Tax Pro IRS Filings Lag by 532,000
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Unfortunately, they’re in the same old spots: refunds (which don’t help overworked CPAs), IRS.gov traffic (maybe there’s where all the budget goes) and self-preparers (who even let them in?). Boo!
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Pro Tax Prep Stalls to a Crawl amid Covid-Extended Season

data chartPros hold the margin, but barely.

By Beth Bellor

New tax filing statistics show only a couple of upticks over last year: DIY e-filings and IRS website traffic, suggesting tax practitioners have hit the big “pause” button on Tax Season 2020.

MORE: Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed | Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns | Tax Pro IRS Filings Lag by 532,000
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Then again, if you’re in I.T. at the IRS, that might not be such happy news.
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Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting

Two years of steady gains wiped out in one month

Profession loses four years of job growth in the first month of the Coronavirus recession, reversing years of steady gains.

By Beth Bellor

Crushed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tax and accounting profession has fallen below 1 million employees for the first time in two years – way below, and that may be just the tip of the iceberg, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

MORE on JOBS and HIRING TRENDS:  Planning for the Coronavirus Recession  |  Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs  |  The Fight for New Tax Clients  |  Tax & Accounting Headcounts Hit Record High   |  Hiring Growth Rate Shows Signs of Leveling Off   |  What Staffing Shortage?   |  Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry   |
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In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

The data comes with a big asterisk.

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Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent

IRS.gov visits top 1 billion.

By Beth Bellor

With two long months to go in this pandemic-stretched tax season, all the key figures are down, down, down … except visits to the IRS website, of course, and a flat spot for DIYers.

Will business pick up as states reopen? Or are the clients waiting in the wings the ones no one wants?

MORE: IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed | Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns
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The IRS had received 125.5 million individual income tax returns as of the week ending May 1, the latest data available, down 11 percent from the same period one year ago. It had processed 113.1 million returns, down 16.1 percent.
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IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago

data chart
^ Data for the week ending April 24, 2020

As filers seek stimulus checks.

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By Beth Bellor

Want a bright spot in the IRS’ weekly updates on tax filings? It’s website traffic, more than double what it was a year ago.

MORE: COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed | Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns | Tax Pro IRS Filings Lag by 532,000 | Tax Pro E-Filings Lag by 512,000 Returns | Tax Pros Kick into High Gear
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Everything else? A sea of red.
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Planning for the Coronavirus Recession

If past recessions are any guide, the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs.

Busy Season Barometer:
Bracing for the Coronavirus recession

Join the survey. Get the facts.

By Beth Bellor

The tax and accounting profession was adding new jobs at a rate of 2.3 percent per year before the Coronavirus outbreak, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

See: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Crisis Coverage

More Staffing and Hiring Trends: Automation and the Future of Accounting  |  Getting and Keeping the Best: The Struggle Continues |  Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting |  Creative Perks for Remote Employees |  What Staffing Shortage? |  Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting |  Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay

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But with a new recession looming, CPA Trendlines estimates the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs and take up to seven years to recover.

The latest data available show more than a million employees in the profession, and growing at about 2,800 new jobs per month. At the same time, wages are hitting record highs.

But with the Coronavirus crisis threatening a new recession, CPA Trendlines conducted a long-term, 30-year analysis, focused on the job losses caused by the dot-com crash of 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2007. From the analysis, CPA Trendlines calculates the profession could shed up to 10 percent of its current workforce, and not fully recover for two to seven years.

All employees, thousands, accounting and bookkeeping services, seasonally adjusted
^ Showing dips after the dot-com bubble in 2001 and financial crash in 2008: All tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services, all employees, in thousands, seasonally adjusted. (CPA Trendlines Research)

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

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