Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released data on Wednesday provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on audits conducted by the IRS in the 2022 fiscal year that found the agency prioritized the harassment of the poorest households.
Reason magazine reported that despite receiving additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the data indicated that the IRS primarily focused on auditing low-income taxpayers, while fewer audits were conducted on millionaires and billionaires.
“The taxpayer class with unbelievably high audit rates—five and a half times virtually everyone else—were low-income wage-earners taking the earned income tax credit,” reported TRAC, adding that the poorest taxpayers are “easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn’t have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions.”
“If one ignores the fiction of auditing a millionaire through simply sending a letter through the mail, the odds that millionaires received a regular audit by a revenue agent (1.1%) was actually less than the audit rate of the targeted lowest income wage-earners whose audit rate was 1.27 percent,” the TRAC continued.
The revelation comes six months after Congress passed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which allocated $80 billion in funding to the IRS over the next 10 years in order to hire 87,000 new employees. This funding was supposedly intended to allow the IRS to effectively target wealthy individuals who were not paying their fair share of taxes.
The bill’s supporters in the left-wing media argued that this would not result in an increase in audits for those making less than $400,000 per year, although these assurances were not explicitly stated in the bill. Supporters of the Act also insisted that the increased capacity at the IRS would only be used to target the wealthy.
The IRS is already globally notorious for its cutthroat methods of tax collection, while this bill paves the way for the expansion of a rogue agency facing serious questions of accountability. As explained by Foundation for Economic Education, during the Obama presidency the agency “specifically targeted conservative nonprofit groups” and “illegally leaked the private tax documents of wealthy private citizens—who weren’t breaking any laws—to the media in order to make a political, partisan point in favor of increasing taxes on the rich.”
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