IRS Collected Record Amount in Taxes Last Year
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IRS Collected Record Amount in Taxes Last Year

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

As the Internal Revenue Service works on processing 2015 tax returns, the agency said it collected a record amount last year from taxpayers.

The federal government received $3.3 trillion in gross taxes from individuals, businesses and estates, up from nearly $3.06 trillion the previous year and the largest amount since 1960, according to its 2015 Data Book.

Taxes from individual income made up more than half of what the IRS collected at $1.76 trillion, the highest amount on record, and up 9 percent from the year before. Business income taxes totaled $389.9 billion—the second-highest on record after $395.5 billion in 2007. That accounted for 11.8 percent of all tax collections and increased 10.4 percent from the prior year.

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Employment taxes added another $1.02 trillion. The remaining $130.7 billion came from excise taxes, estate and trust income taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes.

Overall, the IRS processed 243.3 million tax returns and issued $403 billion in tax refunds last year. More than 14.5 million returns were not filed on time.

The agency audited nearly 1.4 million tax returns, or 0.7 percent of all 2014 returns. That included 0.8 percent of individual returns and 1.3 percent of corporate returns. Through the audits—both in-person and by mail—the IRS determined those taxpayers owed $25.1 billion more in taxes. The audited taxpayers disagreed with $7.4 billion of that amount.

The IRS also handed down 40.1 million penalties worth $24.1 billion. Four out of five of the penalties went to individual, estate and trust taxpayers. Fifty-six percent failed to pay their taxes, 30 percent underpaid their estimated tax and 10 percent were delinquent in filing. Other reasons for penalties included accuracy errors, bad checks and fraud.

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The agency reduced the penalty amounts for 4.2 million taxpayers, totaling $8.9 billion. Also in 2015, 67,000 taxpayers made offers to the IRS to settle their tax liabilities for less than they owed. Two out of five were accepted by the agency, totaling $204.7 million.