Why Aren't Americans Filing Their Taxes This Year? IRS Says 6 Million Fewer Filings Than 2016

Tyler Durden's picture

Disaffected liberals not willing to pay taxes to a government run by Donald Trump?  Families just so flush with cash that they don't need those tax refunds this year?   Americans just getting lazier?

Whatever the reason, Americans are simply not filing their taxes in 2017.  As the Internal Revenue Service recently reported, we're now officially halfway through the 2017 tax filing season and nearly 6 million fewer people have filed their returns than at the same point in 2016, that's an 8.5% decline.  Meanwhile, average refunds are actually up 0.8% but that doesn't seem to matter all that much.



As Bloomberg points out, this has been a consistent trend throughout the 2017 tax season.



Meanwhile, there are several potential reasons why Americans may not be filing their taxes this year:

Simple Procrastination

“Customers waiting longer to file their returns is a trend we have observed for the last four years, although it’s more pronounced this year,” said Sanjay Baskaran, president of online tax preparer TaxAct.


More and more people who used to file in January and February are waiting until the last minute. Last year, IRS data on April 15—the traditional tax deadline—showed individual filings running 5.8 percent behind the previous year. But the deadline was April 18 in 2016, which gave taxpayers an additional three days to file. In the week following April 15, a whopping 12 million tax returns came in, and filings ended up 1.7 percent higher than in the previous year.

It's Donald Trump's Fault

The political rhetoric of President Donald Trump may be scaring some taxpayers. With the Republican promising to crack down on illegal immigration, undocumented immigrants may be afraid to create a paper trail with the government by claiming tax refunds.


John Hewitt, chairman and chief executive of Liberty Tax, raised the possibility in a call with analysts March 8. Undocumented immigrants often use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) rather than Social Security numbers to file. “Those ITIN filers are filing at a reduced level this year,” Hewitt said. They’re “probably fearful of the Trump initiatives.”


It’s also possible that the overall political atmosphere could be affecting filing. The Trump administration is enforcing the health insurance mandate differently this tax season, while Congress moves quickly to gut the Affordable Care Act, and Trump has promised massive tax cuts. Although no tax code changes would affect what you currently owe, Julie Miller, a spokeswoman for TurboTax owner Intuit Inc., speculated that “there could just be confusion, or [people are] waiting for the dust to settle.”

Delayed Refunds

In an effort to crack down on fraud, Congress passed the PATH Act 1 , which requires the IRS to increase scrutiny of certain tax credits often claimed by low-income households. As a result, the agency warned it wouldn’t issue refunds this year until Feb. 15 for the millions of returns claiming the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.


That delay could be a big factor affecting millions of taxpayers who haven’t filed yet, several analysts and tax company executives said. While issues with undocumented immigrant returns may be a “fringe factor,” the PATH act is the main reason for the delay, said Piper Jaffray analyst George Tong.


“A lot of early season filers want their money and want their money fast,” Tong said. If filings are delayed, “it throws a wrench into consumer behavior.” Liberty’s Hewitt seemed to agree that the refund delays are a larger issue. “The PATH Act has created a massive change in the industry,” he said.

Mass Confusion

The PATH Act affects taxpayers claiming the earned income and additional child tax credits–about 27 million people claimed the EITC last year–but other taxpayers may wrongly think the rule changes affect them, sowing confusion. “Many people assumed this was the holding of refunds until [mid-February] for everyone,” said Michael Millman of Millman Research Associates.


H&R Block Chief Executive Officer Bill Cobb cited this “uncertainty” as a factor in delayed filings. “Taxpayers who typically file in January and early February appear to be less motivated to file quickly, given that their refunds may be delayed,” Cobb said in an earnings call on March 7.


Delay all you want—until April 18, that is, when your filing is due—but you’ll pay for that procrastination: Tax prep companies punish late filers by hiking their prices as the tax deadline approaches.

But, delay as you might, in the end there are only two certainties in life:


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gmak's picture

Isn;'t this that stupid strike by those who are mad that they lost the election?

QuantumEasing's picture

Indeed. Would be good to see most people finally realizing they are not a Federally privileged class, and stop claiming to be.

No need for a "flat tax," or to abolish the IRS. Just realize what the requirements are.

The IRS does NOT make things easy to comprehend, though.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Sad that I was suckered by Weiss and lost 1,000 Euros, and hopefully I can reverse the path that I've started going down.  Purchasing his book today.

pods's picture

Hmmm, so Watson isn't processing returns fast enough eh?

Maybe, idk, make shit simpler for people?  Nah, then accountants would be out of jobs.

Fucking clownshow.


Citxmech's picture

So there's only 75mm+/- tax filiers in the US out of 350mm people?  


QuantumEasing's picture

I know. Waaay high. Someone should tally up the number of .Gov workers (local, state, fed) plus military. Probably closer to 10mm max should be filing.

Stanley Kubrick's picture

"H&R Block + Watson" thing isn't ANYTHING....other than cross-brand PR.

IBM's so screwed up, after years of R&D they've open-sourced Watson....and now, they're trying to figure out to monitize the sizzle, not the steak.

In fact, H&R's analytics software is from my buddy's small software co.

JRobby's picture

Obamacare Penalties

Next question.

QuantumEasing's picture

There's a lot of false starts, cul-de-sacs, and pitfalls along the way. But anything worth doing is usually a PITA.

Stick with it.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Thanks for the words of encouragement.  I now understand why, a couple months ago (IIRC), when I posted a link to Weiss's site, it was so heavily downvoted.

"Nothing good comes easy" -- a quote from the movie 12:01, which is where I chose my moniker from.  :)

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) QuantumEasing Mar 10, 2017 1:49 PM



Is this name taken's picture

I have been an educated filer for several years. The IRS has determined IN WRITING that 1099's sent out to me for consulting work were sent in error by all senders and agrees that I owe zero tax.

QuantumEasing's picture

My hat is off to you.

People get so freaked out when dealing with the IRS. They MUST and DO follow their own rules, you just have to prove you know who you are, and that you know the rules as well.

They will test you, just to make sure you walk the walk.

And then you win.

Lumberjack's picture

6 million? Where have I heard that before? Hmmmm....

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) Lumberjack Mar 10, 2017 12:40 PM

It's how many eggs an Amish hen produces in a lifetime, & by a miraculous coincidence, how many clops you hear from the Amish travelers horse on the way to market.


Those Amish have some evil geometry going on.

FrozenGoodz's picture

No ... awaiting no-healthcare penalty to be blown into Space by current admin


Might be a test of patience

Jim Sampson's picture

Was not paying an option?  I was not aware of it if it was because I have already paid mine.

GadExp's picture



I filed mine on January 6th.  I won't pay a dime for 2016.




Wake up people!!!


Get learning!

RAT005's picture

You don't need to pay the Obamacare fine.  It has never been enforcable.  And under trump they announced they wouldn't even send the nasty gram letter asking you to pay the fine.  Those letters never say why you owe more, they try to make it look like a regular tax paying mistake and you just need to pay a little more to fix the mistake.

Maggs1967's picture

how do you not pay the ACA fine?  In H & R Block online it tells you you owe it?  $800 :(

Raging Debate's picture

Maggs - You file a 'silent return' meaning you don't check the box on your 1040 whether you have health insurance or not. The IRS refused those returns in the past but by executive order (thanks Donald) they now have to. HR Block has NOT changed there software to allow you to do this. Completing a 1040 is not difficult on your own, expect 2-3 hours Googling a couple rows of the 1040 to avoid mistakes. 

 The IRS may or may not follow up on if you have insurance, this is going to depend on what happens to ending the tax mandate which was submitted to the house for repeal.It will likely pass but for this year I would file a silent return and see what happens. 2016 was a tough year for small business. I would take your chances if you need the cash now to operate. 

pazmaker's picture

You file paper taxes, the forms are still online and you can print them or visit your local library.  You mail them in and you lie and say you had health insurance.   No penalty has to be paid.

QuantumEasing's picture

Schiff's (and Russo's) heart was in the right place, but he made specious arguments that ultimately culminated with "refuse to pay."

That was stupid. Don't make frivolous arguments based on bad info, you will get popped. Still feel badly for him though.

Common_Law's picture

Yeah, Erwin put all his eggs in one basket and the feds knew it so they made it public. Because courts can choose to leave any case they want unpublished, and if anyone ever won a tax case it'd never see the light of day. And, "tax court" is an executive court like the FISA court that always rules in favour of the govt.

The key distinction with taxes is weather you're a federal citizen or a state citizen. The Constitution only mentions state citizens.

"The United States government is a foreign corporation with respect to a state." [Merriam's Estate, 36 N.E. 505, 141 N.Y. 479, affirmed U.S. v. Perkins, 16 S.Ct. 1073, 163 U.S. 625, 41 L.Ed 287] [19 C.J.S. 883] 

"There is a distinction between citizenship of the United States** and citizenship of a particular state, and a person may be the former without being the latter. [Alla v. Kornfeld, 84 F.Supp. 823] [(1949)]

More info here:


QuantumEasing's picture

His mistake was challenging the Constitutionality of the Income Tax.

It is 100% constitutional.

It just does not apply to most people.

QuantumEasing's picture

Well done. If only the fear and doubt most people experience regarding the IRS could be expunged. Read the damn book, folks...

SweetDougisaTwat's picture

You will end up in prison, like it or not.

Prisoners_dilemna's picture



It's time to learn the truth about the tax. Tens of thousands, (apparently 6 million) have gone before you.


Click that link above and reclaim your birthright.


The income tax is an excise. If you don't know what that means then you are paying the "ignorance" tax.


The whole history, legal and cultural, is documented for those willing to learn.  Be free Bitchez.


PS. I owe Gadexp an apology for accusing him of being an IRS mole. GADexp I apologize!!

GadExp's picture

Hi PD!


I saw your apology the other day!  Ha ha! Thanks!  I'm glad we finally came to terms!


If you want to 'pay off' your apology time early, you can send me all your copy/paste court cases.  I would love to refine my understanding and increase my arsenal!

FireBrander's picture

Earned Income Credit:

1. BILLIONS in EIC payments paid to stolen indentities; crooks needed to file fast...before the person whose identity they stole.

2. IRS announced crackdown on criminal EIC filings; would not pay any EIC refunds until at least Feb 27th.

3. How many ILLEGAL immigrants were filing for EIC? Maybe they are terrified if they file, ICE will show up at thier door...

My money is on  the decreas coming from a major reduction in criminal tax filings...THANKS TRUMP!..will this be the next MSM Headline?

Prisoners_dilemna's picture

"...in Springer v. U. S., 102 U.S. 586 , it was held that a tax upon gains, profits, and income was an excise or duty, and not a direct tax, within the meaning of the constitution, and that its imposition was not, therefore, unconstitutional."

Pollock v. Farmer's Loan & Trust, 157 U.S. 429 (1895)


How bout one per comment.   :)   If you want them all then I re-direct you back to LH. Pete's done a better job documenting  CTC research than I can re-quote it.     Pete is an incredibly prolific writer and really, he did the yeomans work. I am merely smart enough to pay attention to people smarter than me.     That quote above I pulled from his discussion of the 16th amendment, http://losthorizons.com/The16th.htm     

Anonymous_Beneficiary's picture

Pete ended up doing time in the penitentiary for following his own tax advice.


Prisoners_dilemna's picture

Throughout human history, the bravest and most upstanding Liberty lovers were always prosecuted by the parasites.

Which are you?


If you care to read Petes version of the situation, here is one discussion of the topic.



Here's another comment found at losthorizons.com,;

"As with the similarly-bogus, similarly truth-emphasizing "civil lawsuit" attack, this criminal assault just galvanized truth-fueled, truth-spreading American men and women. Even after I checked in at a federal prison, refunds based on what I was charged with not believing to be true continued to be demanded, and continued to issue forth, week after week.

Again desperate to frighten the people away from the inescapable, but oh, so inconvenient truth, the feds cranked out yet another revision of Form 4852 in late 2010."


Make up your own mind if Pete accurately renders the relevant law for us and the state didn't like that he exposed the fog, smoke, mirrors, and traps that is the Internal Revenue Code or if he is some crackpot with no research to back up his words.


I found him to be a brilliant researcher. What differentiates Pete from Schiff is that Irwin did not have the aid of computer and internet in his research. This benefit can not be overstated, and Pete utilized this to delve into the well hidden history to re-iluminate the 16th amendment, over 100 Revenue Acts, Court decisions, particularly Supreme Court decisions, the relevant statutes in the US Code, and more.

If Ron Paul was the truth-tellsing outsiders in the legislative/political realm.

Pete Hendrickson is the premier scholar in the average Liberty loving American man with internet/I want to keep my money so I will learn realm.


Pete was also accused of a "bombing".   Trololo   There is of course the governments rendition of the events, I'm sure its very honest and not at all rhetorical. There is also Petes version of the events, you can read his version for yourself here, http://www.losthorizons.com/AdHominemAssault.htm

pazmaker's picture

Hey Prisoners thanks for the link!  I just perused but have it bookmarked and will read in more detail when I get home.

QuantumEasing's picture

Jim, no. It's not an option. You are legally bound to pay every penny of tax that applies to you, or face stiff penalties.

Any money that you obtain as a result of Federal privilege must be reported so the excise can be paid on it. No exception.

Prisoners_dilemna's picture

Correct, and the flip side is;

"gains, profits, and income" is derived from an activity where federally connected privilege was exercised. The excise tax known as the income tax falls specifically on this class of money. Money paid out from the taxpayer purse, because the activity was so connected to fed-guv.

The reason most of us are liable for the tax today is because someone else is creating information returns (W-2 and 1099) which allege payment of federally connected monies. We were all mislead to create these legal instruments about file them about each other and our private transaction. These instruments are presumed to be true unless rebutted in the form and manner provided for in law. All of this was conveniently hidden behind the most complex legalese. They induced us to create legal instruments about our private payments to each other as if they are federal payments resulting from a federally connected activity.


We all have to sell our products and services in the market. Those who get the government as customer pay a tax on their privileged activities relating only to fed-guv. Most of us have to compete for jobs. THose persons who are employed by fed-guv are taxed on this privilege.

The modern Robber Barons are trying very hard to make you think the tax falls on your working mans shoulders rather than on their obscene profits they get by way of the special relationship they have to fed-guv.

Neither does Fed-guv mind that you "voluntarily" pay monies to them for a tax you are not lawfully liable for, although legally you are liable and will be treated as such because you unwittingly agreed with a payers mischaracterization of your pay as resulting from federally connected privilege.

All legal dictionaries define excise as privilege. The Supreme Court doctrine clearly states (if you look) the 16th amendment didn't undo the constitution or create a new tax, and that the income tax is an excise.

You can learn the history, for example for the first 20 years of the tax only 4-9% of Americans paid in. 20 YEARS!  What tax authority institututes a tax then decides not to apply it for 20 years? It was clear to Americans at that time what the tax actually fell on, and over time we lost our way and this was pounced upon by a revenue-hungry state so that today we all pay the "ignorance tax".


No longer!!!   www.losthorizons.com

Get learning Bitchez!!!!!


Visit http://losthorizons.com/The16th.htm and learn the individual-empowering and state-restraining truth about the income tax. Then spread it like your liberty depends on your effort (which it does)!


Darktarra's picture

What is a tax return?  No really... what is a tax return? 

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

It's where if you have a job, The Leviathan says it requires more of its property back, Slave. Last year was a good year for me. Now the overwhelming portion of my profit is stolen.




To all of you spooks reading this. It's coming for you. Not if, but when. Choose wisely.

Boonster's picture

It would be great if it was. The IRS is brutal and would teach those hippies/commies a painful lesson.

lolmao500's picture

Stupid strike. Please. All government tax is theft. No matter who,s the president. All americans should not fill any tax return and tell the IRS to suck it!

QuantumEasing's picture

Or, instead of needlessly antagonizing them, you could simply realize you never owed the excise in the first place...

Unless you are a Federal employee.

pazmaker's picture

sometimes if you like your freedom... you file a tax return.  I tried what you suggested a few years back and woke up one moring with a knock on my door..was put in handcuffs and taking to jail for failure to file, failure to pay taxes.


Mikeyy's picture

Maybe more people owe money this year thus are putting off filing?  I generally do my taxes fairly early and then put off filing until the last minute if I owe the Feds money.

IridiumRebel's picture

Illegals not filing? GOOD.

highwaytoserfdom's picture

idiots AlanBenFelon has over 40% non participation

Dr. Engali's picture

People are making so damn much in this booming eCONomy that they don't want to write a check for the taxes they have to pay.

Dre4dwolf's picture

The refunds kept getting smaller, and smaller, its felt pointless filing for years now.

The refund money cant even buy anything with inflation, its like filling pages of paper work to get a gumball prize... not exactly worth the time.