The 1040 segment national average filing pace for 2021 saw a 4.8% decrease in not started returns and a 9.4% increase in completed returns since our last update (period ending 05/17).
The 1040 segment saw an uneven rate of progress over the past three months. After an 8.6% decrease in returns not started for the period ending 05/17, much smaller period-over-period decreases were seen for the periods ending June 15 (2.3%), July 15 (1.1%), and August 15 (1.4%). We saw similar results for completed returns, with increases of 4.6%, 2.4%, and 2.4% for June, July, and August, respectively.
On our last update (for the period ending 05/17), the 1040 segment national average filing pace for 2021 outperformed the 2020 filing pace for all metrics (not started, in process, completed, and not filing). That trend continues through the period ending June 15. However, the July 15 data saw the 2021 filing pace 1.9% behind the 2020 filing pace, and August 15 has the 2021 filing pace 4.2% behind the 2020 filing pace for returns not started. The filing pace for completed returns is in a similar position, with the 2021 tax filing season pace for 1040 returns dropping from 11.4% ahead of the 2020 filing pace as of June 15 to 5.6% behind the 2020 filing pace as of August 15.
The 2020 tax filing season jump for 1040 returns is no doubt in large part due to the 2020 filing date being July 15. In addition, in 2021, many tax preparers had planned their vacations before the (partial) federal filing due date extension. Anecdotal information was that many preparers did not reschedule after the federal due date for individual returns was pushed to 05/17.
In 2020 we saw the percentage of returns not started sitting in the low teens until the October 15 extended deadline (when returns not started dropped to 6.8%). Based on the last three months, I expect to see the same thing again for the 2021 tax filing season.