The IRS isn't ready to hit the panic button. But where are all those tax returns?
Through the first 10 weeks of the year, the Internal Revenue Service received 48.2 million returns, down 8 percent from the same period last year. Filing is at the slowest pace in five years.The number of refunds also has dropped, and fewer people are calling the IRS with technical questions on how to fill out their returns. Even the number of impatient filers calling to ask "where's my refund?" has dropped 13.5 percent from a year ago.
"There are fewer returns filed so fewer people are asking about refunds," explained IRS spokesman Don Roberts.
The IRS guesses that people are slow to file because they run through the figures and determine that the refund they will get is smaller than expected - or maybe they even have a balance due.