IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

The IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate as the wealthiest 1%. Now, in response to questions from a U.S. senator, the IRS has acknowledged that’s true but professes it can’t change anything unless it is given more money.

ProPublica reported the disproportionate audit focus on lower-income families in April. Lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the emphasis, citing our stories, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Rettig for a plan to fix the imbalance. Rettig readily agreed.

Last month, Rettig replied with a report, but it said the IRS has no plan and won’t have one until Congress agrees to restore the funding it slashed from the agency over the past nine years — something lawmakers have shown little inclination to do.

On the one hand, the IRS said, auditing poor taxpayers is a lot easier: The agency uses relatively low-level employees to audit returns for low-income taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit. The audits — of which there were about 380,000 last year, accounting for 39% of the total the IRS conducted — are done by mail and don’t take too much staff time, either. They are “the most efficient use of available IRS examination resources,” Rettig’s report says.

On the other hand, auditing the rich is hard. It takes senior auditors hours upon hours to complete an exam. What’s more, the letter says, “the rate of attrition is significantly higher among these more experienced examiners.” As a result, the budget cuts have hit this part of the IRS particularly hard.

For now, the IRS says, while it agrees auditing more wealthy taxpayers would be a good idea, without adequate funding there’s nothing it can do. “Congress must fund and the IRS must hire and train appropriate numbers of [auditors] to have appropriately balanced coverage across all income levels,” the report said.

Since 2011, Republicans in Congress have driven cuts to the IRS enforcement budget; it’s more than a quarter lower than its 2010 level, adjusting for inflation.

Recently, bipartisan support has emerged in both the House and Senate for increasing enforcement spending, but the proposals on the table are relatively modest and would not restore the budget to pre-cut levels. However, even a proposed small increase might not come to pass, because it’s unclear whether Congress will actually pass any appropriations bills this year.

In response to Rettig’s letter, Wyden agreed in a statement that the IRS needs more money, “but that does not eliminate the need for the agency to begin reversing the alarming trend of plummeting audit rates of the wealthy within its current budget.”

I Voted For Persident Obama -Because ….

The New World Order has emerged and is gaining traction Not with Mass Destruction from Biological or Military measures But the alliance of Peoples of Color and whites with shared discontent Who used the U.S’s. 2012  General election to usurp a racist political...

When Your Pain Is Being Gay

When your pain is being gay And you're hurt, ashamed or confused And wonder if you should suffer another day. If often you feel self-conscious with others around And you hate to face the world but can't hibernate So again you get up and get out. When confidences are...
Holocaust

My response to: Teaching the Holocaust: Lessons from Yad Vashem

Rachael I agree that the Holocaust, could become a part of the narrative of civilization. However, I would go further to say that the foundational narrative of Civilization itself must first be cleaned up. Then that standard of truthfulness, will attract more...
Time to “trump” Donald Trump!

Time to “trump” Donald Trump!

Dear President Obama Your intervention I seek, before 2016 arrive To trump "the Donald's" geo-political misconception Which suggests that a majority of true Americans; Are less American than Euro-centric Apple Pie Sir, the United States is just one of 23 countries...

We Are a Community of Passionate Voices

IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the PoorProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.The IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate as the wealthiest 1%. Now, in response to questions from a U.S. senator, the IRS has acknowledged that’s true but professes it can’t change anything unless it is given more money.ProPublica reported the disproportionate audit focus on lower-income families in April. Lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the emphasis, citing our stories, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Rettig for a plan to fix the imbalance. Rettig readily agreed.Last month, Rettig replied with a report, but it said the IRS has no plan and won’t have one until Congress agrees to restore the funding it slashed from the agency over the past nine years — something lawmakers have shown little inclination to do.On the one hand, the IRS said, auditing poor taxpayers is a lot easier: The agency uses relatively low-level employees to audit returns for low-income taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit. The audits — of which there were about 380,000 last year, accounting for 39% of the total the IRS conducted — are done by mail and don’t take too much staff time, either. They are “the most efficient use of available IRS examination resources,” Rettig’s report says.On the other hand, auditing the rich is hard. It takes senior auditors hours upon hours to complete an exam. What’s more, the letter says, “the rate of attrition is significantly higher among these more experienced examiners.” As a result, the budget cuts have hit this part of the IRS particularly hard.For now, the IRS says, while it agrees auditing more wealthy taxpayers would be a good idea, without adequate funding there’s nothing it can do. “Congress must fund and the IRS must hire and train appropriate numbers of [auditors] to have appropriately balanced coverage across all income levels,” the report said.Since 2011, Republicans in Congress have driven cuts to the IRS enforcement budget; it’s more than a quarter lower than its 2010 level, adjusting for inflation.Recently, bipartisan support has emerged in both the House and Senate for increasing enforcement spending, but the proposals on the table are relatively modest and would not restore the budget to pre-cut levels. However, even a proposed small increase might not come to pass, because it’s unclear whether Congress will actually pass any appropriations bills this year.In response to Rettig’s letter, Wyden agreed in a statement that the IRS needs more money, “but that does not eliminate the need for the agency to begin reversing the alarming trend of plummeting audit rates of the wealthy within its current budget.”
Blacks & Hispanics Say No To Trump! Today Pres. Trump read the truest words written by his speech writer Words the speech writer might not have realized how truthful they are And in that act of pretense or breakthrough clarity Trump described himself, his TV and Radio sycophants Plus others ...
Read More
Re: Jamaica Gleaner News - Hell in Haiti - Lead Stories - Saturday | November 6, 2010 Saturday, November 06, 2010 7:55 AM Many Jamaican Christians who still dabble in Obeah, like to say Haitians are suffering because of Voodoo. And because most other blacks seem to hate Haitians so ...
Read More
Dear conscientious and concerned Americans in Politics, Mass Media, Entertainment and more. who's struggling to know what to do with sexual abusers; in all areas of life. Let’s not quickly fire those accused of sexual wrongdoings or white supremacy Who’ve repented, and are ready to change and atone. In-spite of ...
Read More
Loading...

Connect With Us

Subscribe to PC Village

Enter your email address to subscribe to our Village and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Drop Us a Line

We’d love to hear from you.