The IRS has reported that as of May 3, 2008, more tax returns had been processed than at the same time last year. How many more? About 15 million more to nearly 142 million, an increase of about 11%.

And despite what those hold times felt like, the number of phone calls answered by IRS representatives totaled 18.4 million calls, up from 16.2 million calls, an increase of 13.1%. More significantly, the IRS completed 22.2 million automated calls (a la “Where is my refund?”), an increase of 19.2% from last year.

More taxpayers filing returns. That wasn’t unexpected, was it?

Hmm… Conspiracy theories, anyone?

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

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