Video: Who is the IRS?

Updated for Tax Year 2020


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a government organization responsible for collecting taxes from the American public. Learn about the IRS with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Video transcript:

Hello, I'm Sara from TurboTax with some interesting information about the Internal Revenue Service.

Most of you know of the IRS since you send it your tax return every year, but I bet there are things about the agency you don't know.

  • The IRS was created in 1862 when the United States needed additional money to fund the Civil War.
  • Interestingly, in 1895 the US Supreme Court declared the income tax to be unconstitutional and, therefore, Americans did not have to pay an income tax again until 1913 when the Constitution was amended.

Since that time, the income tax remains the main source of revenue for the federal government.

Today, the IRS is the largest bureau within the US Department of Treasury and acts as the chief tax administrator of the country.

  • To give you an idea of how large the IRS is, in 2009 the agency processed over 263 million tax returns and collected approximately $2.3 trillion in taxes.
  • Even though the IRS employs thousands of people, it only spends 50 cents for every $100 it collects.

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