Press Release

Tax Day 2020: Despite Fewer Forms, Costs and Hours Stay Steady

While the COVID-19 pandemic led to the delay of Tax Day by three months, this postponement had little effect on the annual cost of complying with tax paperwork. This year saw the first decrease in the total number of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms in five years, but the current annual cost of complying with tax paperwork dropped by only 0.3 percent, write AAF’s Director of Regulatory Policy Dan Bosch and Director of Fiscal Policy Gordon Gray. Similarly, the time burden required to complete forms decreased slightly from 2019 to 7.98 billion hours.

Their central points:

  • The total projected cost of IRS paperwork is $196.7 billion annually – a small decrease from last year’s projection;
  • After consecutive years of double-digit percentage increases in the total number of forms issued by the IRS, forms have decreased by 9 percent since last Tax Day; and
  • A number of other researchers have estimated tax compliance burdens, and while these studies offer a range of estimates, they are remarkably similar in magnitude and direction.

Read the research.