Americans Spent $33.6 Billion Filing Individual Tax Returns This Year

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Americans spend billions of hours and tens of billions of dollars a year to file individual tax returns, a new analysis finds.

Complying with the IRS code cost the 150 million Americans who file individual returns 2.6 billion hours and $33.6 billion in 2015, an analysis conducted by the American Action Forum found. The individual tax code is the largest burden placed on taxpayers by the IRS.

Including business and individual returns, the AAF found Americans spend $181.9 billion and 7.3 billion paperwork hours to comply with the code. That 7.3 billion figure translates to almost 4 million Americans a year working 38 hours a week to comply with the code. (RELATED: Tax Day Trouble? IRS Won’t Answer The Phones)

“No one, regardless of political affiliation, is satisfied with the current tax code,” the analysis concludes.

AAF used data from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on the collection and cost of IRS paperwork for the analysis. Since the IRS reports only part of the compliance costs, AAF applied the average hourly cost ($31.57) of a civilian employee, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to the rest of the hours. (RELATED: Happy Tax Day: IRS Spent Millions On Office Furniture And Toys)

That puts the full reported cost to five time what the IRS reports, at $181.9 billion.

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