The Internal Revenue Service recently released the 2012 IRS Data Book, which is, in essence, a snapshot of IRS’s activities for the 2012 fiscal year.

The Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance and the IRS budget and workforce.

Among the findings:

• The IRS collected almost $2.5 trillion in federal revenue and processed 237 million returns, of which almost 145 million were filed electronically.

• Out of the 146 million individual income tax returns filed, almost 81 percent were e-filed. More than 120 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled almost $322.7 billion.

• On average, the IRS spent 48 cents to collect $100 in tax revenue during the fiscal year, the lowest cost since 2008.

• The IRS examined less than one percent of all tax returns filed and about one percent of all individual income tax returns during fiscal year 2012.

• Less than 4% of the 1.5 million individual tax returns examined, resulted in additional tax refunds to the taxpayer.

• Returns with higher adjusted gross income were more likely to be examined.

Of note, criminal investigations continue their upward climb. In 2012, the IRS initiated 5,125 criminal investigations compared to only 4,720 in 2011. Referrals for prosecution also increased. In 2012, 3,701 cases were referred for prosecution while the number was only 3,410 in 2011.

Click here to view the 2012 Data Book.

Click here for the statistics by year of the Criminal Investigation Program.