IRS Releases 2015 Collections Data

Today brings one of my absolute favorite days of the year: The release of the annual IRS Data Book for the preceding fiscal year.

As always, I jump directly to the most precious tidbit in the entire data book: Table 16. If you’re not familiar, this is the table that summarizes IRS Collections enforcement activities for the year.

This year’s table illustrates two key things that are important for you to know from a tax resolution marketing standpoint.

First, the number of open Collections cases continues to increase. FY15 saw a net increase of 961,000 open Collections cases in inventory. As of the end of the fiscal year in September, there were 13.3 million active Collections cases. That means increased tax resolution opportunities for you.

Second, the number of new tax lien filings continues to decrease, a trend we’ve seen continuously for a number of years. In FY15, the IRS filed over 30,000 *fewer* new NTFLs than in FY14. This trend has progressively made tax lien marketing more difficult, in terms of the “low hanging fruit” and decreasing response rates. This means that, while tax lien marketing is getting progressively more difficult every year, you should be getting higher quality clients from the tax lien marketing you are doing. Be more selective, as the IRS obviously is when it comes to filing the liens. Also, you really should be shifting more of your marketing budget to digital marketing.

It should also be noted that levy activity dropped by about a quarter, despite the fact that monies collected actually went up by about $1.3 billion.

Another thing that’s obvious from this year’s report is that the IRS crackdown on unfiled returns is paying off. FY15 ended with almost half a million fewer open delinquent return investigations than in ’14, and the number of new investigations was also substantially lower. I think this tells us that the IRS is relying more on computerized data matching to help close out delinquent return investigations, and those systems are working.

The Offer in Compromise program never has been and never will be your primary tax resolution tool, but practitioners are inevitably curious about it, so I’ll make a brief mention about it here. The number of offers received and accepted didn’t really change (it hardly ever does year to year). However, the amount of revenue collected by the government through the OIC program went up about 14%.

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If you’re a curious goose like I am, you can read through the data book here.

With the number of open Collections cases going up and up and up, it makes more and more sense for you to add tax resolution to your practice if you haven’t already. To get a leg up on the business and marketing aspects of this lucrative service, check out the A to Z Tax Resolution Business Blueprint.